Britain's Blue Passports Post-Brexit Will Be Made By Franco-Dutch Firm
For many people, the Brexit vote was a matter of taking back control and - for older generations - to get back the dearly-missed blue passports from before the UK joined the EU in the 1970s.
Now in a twist of irony, it turns out that the new 'old' passports won't be as British as they seem as the passports will be made by a Franco-Dutch company, according to reports.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the contract to manufacture the new passports is likely to be awarded to Gemalto, a digital security company based in Amsterdam and listed on the Dutch and French stock exchanges.
The firm, which is the world's biggest supplier of SIM cards, undercut rival bids - including one from a British firm by around £50m ($70.8m), the newspaper reports.
In another detail likely to infuriate Brexiteers, the tender to produce the passports was across the EU under single market rules. You have to laugh, I suppose.
Well, unless you're former cabinet minister Priti Patel, a prominent Eurosceptic, who called the move a 'national humiliation'.
Patel told the Sun: "This should be a moment that we should be celebrating. The return of our iconic blue passport will re-establish the British identity.
"But to be putting the job in the hands of the French is simply astonishing. It is a national humiliation."
Patel and other Eurosceptic MPs have urged the Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the government to look at the decision to see if they can combat it.
Prominent Remainers have also taken the opportunity to put the boot into the decision, calling the blue passport saga a 'farce'.
Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake told PA: "First it was established that we did not have to leave the EU to have blue passports. Now we learn that the passports will be printed by a foreign company.
"And to add insult to injury, we will pay over the odds for them because the value of the pound has fallen since Brexit and they will have to be imported.
"Brexit is far too high a price to pay for a blue passport."
A Home Office spokeswoman said the department is running 'a fair and open competition' for the contract to ensure new passports are high quality, secure and offer the best value for money.
"All passports will continue to be personalised with the holder's details in the United Kingdom, meaning that no personal data will leave the UK," the spokeswoman stressed.
"We do not require passports to be manufactured in the UK. A proportion of blank passport books are currently manufactured overseas, and there are no security or operational reasons why this would not continue."
Featured Image Credit: PA