Made in France? Britain's new Brexit passport goes to the EU

BARNIER

BARNIER

The Hampshire-based firm said if a French company got the right to produce the passports, it would mean the United Kingdom government is not serious enough about commitment to Britain's own business.

The Daily Telegraph says a Franco-Dutch firm is close to being awarded the contract to print the documents - which many see as a symbol of the UK's regained independence.

However, pro-Brexit former cabinet minister Priti Patel said the decision to make the passport overseas was "disgraceful" and "perverse".

But many viewed a French company bagging the rights to produce British passports ahead of the UK's De La Rue which is now holding the contracts is ironical for it would mean the symbol of British sovereignty was still tied with a country which is a member of the EU.

Similarly, Tory MP Sir Bill Cash, chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee labelled the move "completely wrong and unnecessary".

Martin Sutherland, the chief executive of De La Rue, invited Prime Minister Theresa May to his factory in the northeast of England to explain to his workers why it was a "sensible decision to offshore a British icon".

According to the Guardian, a Home Office spokesperson said that no final decision has yet been made.

A new contract was put out to tender for British passports after Brexit as the current one is due to run out.

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"But to be putting the job in the hands of the French is simply astonishing".

The tender to produce the passport was put out across the European Union under single market rules.

"If the best thing the Government can come up with about Brexit is that we can change the colour of our passports to me that just speaks about how much chaos there is".

The episode is a potential source of embarrassment for the government of Prime Minister Theresa May.

A spokesman for May's Downing Street office said: "We are still in the process of running a fair and open competition to ensure that the new contract delivers a high-quality product which offers the best value for money for the taxpayer".

"We do not require passports to be manufactured in the UK". A proportion of passports have been made overseas since then with up to 20 percent of blank passport books now produced in Europe with no security or operational concerns.

British passports, which have been produced for years in the burgundy colors of the European Union, are now made by De La Rue.