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The government might get a European company to design the new blue Brexit passports

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Tom Mendelsohn
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Now Brexit is officially definitely happening for good, we are able to go back to the business of being properly British again. This can mean anything from selling arms to dodgy Middle Eastern theocracies to starting wars with Spain, but possibly the most British thing of all will be the inevitable triumphant return to the old style of navy blue passport.

The old blue document was big and bold, and every time an Englishman plonked it down on Johnny Foreigner’s cowardly passport control desk, everyone knew the natural order of things. The red EU-wide passport which first appeared in 1988 is much smaller, and inherently worse simply because it has the words ‘European Union’ on it. No one alive today remembers a time before the red passport. 

A blue passport holder, which you've always been able to buy if you really care about this kind of stuff

So with all that in mind, it’s likely to come as a bit of a shock to the Brexit lot that the UK’s government is using an EU tendering portal to find candidates for the redesign – and that the ‘honour’ of recolouring the British passport may well be awarded to a European design agency, not to mention the £490 million the project will cost.

Of course, the UK passport is redesigned as a matter of course every five years, and the bid wouldn’t have been remarkable except for the fact that it came six days before Theresa May signed Article 50, formally beginning the process of terminating the UK’s relationship with the European Union. The new passport is due to be issued from 2019, the same year we leave the EU’s clutches for good. In the days since Article 50 was signed, a growing array of bushy-eared old curmudgeons have come out in favour of replacing the burgundy with the former blue, presumably as a way of distracting other conservatives from the fact that Brexit is going pear-shaped at an alarming rate.