London, December 23: The UK government announced that the colour of British passports will be one major change after Brexit with the country reverting to its ‘iconic’ navy blue from the current European Union colour of burgundy.
The UK’s passport was originally navy blue in colour since the booklet form was launched in 1921. The design and colour were changed to burgundy in 1988, in line with the UK s EU membership.
Following a vote in favour of leaving the economic bloc in a referendum in June 2016, the UK government has now confirmed that the country’s travel document will also change colour with Brexit.
‘Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world. That is why I am delighted to announce that the British passport will be returning to the iconic blue and gold design after we have left the European Union in 2019,’ said UK Home Office minister Brandon Lewis.
‘It will also be one of the most secure travel documents in the world, with a raft of new security measures to protect against fraud and forgery,’ he said.
A 490-million-pound contract to redesign and produce a new version of the document had been announced earlier this year.
However, the UK Home Office has stressed that the switch will take place gradually without additional cost to the UK taxpayers.
The new blue passports will be phased in after the UK officially leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.
Burgundy passports will continue to be issued, although without the EU markings, until the current passport supplier’s contract expires in October 2019.
The new blue and gold design will then be issued to people renewing or applying for a new passport.
British passport holders have been assured that they need not to do anything until their renewal date.
Among the new design features will be a new picture page made of a ‘super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be more difficult to alter’, the Home Office said.
The passport had been famously held up by the then leader of the far-right and Eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Nigel Farage, during the EU referendum campaign last year as a symbol of the UK being controlled by the trading bloc.
He expressed his joy on Twitter: In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back.