The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has rained all over the blue passport parade by pointing out the colour of the UK’s travel documentation was our own choice all along.
The PM and many Brexiteers yesterday hailed the change was a victory for British sovereignty with Nigel Farage describing it as a step towards “becoming a proper country again”.
But there is one slight issue as Guy Verhofstadt pointed out on Saturday morning.
The EU issued guidance for member states’ passports in 1981 an effort to standardise official documents across the continent but this is guidance, not an obligation.
Meaning while most EU countries have burgundy passports – Croatia still proudly issues blue ones.
Verhofstadt later cheekily rubbed it in a little more with another suggestion.
The awkward revelation will likely do little to dampen the spirits of those who back blue passports, some of whom celebrated in sensational style in the comments section of some of the newspapers that backed the move.
I’ve always felt a sense of shame on having to have an EU passport it made me feel like a state member and not a free man in a sovereign nation.
The hairy bag, Mail Online commenter
We can have burgundy passport burning ceremonies.
V Bale, Mail Online commenter
Last year it was revealed that the only thing Leave voters wanted more from Brexit than blue passports was the death penalty.
Other items on the wish-list included the right to beat children, inefficient lighting and an impractical measurements system.
As well as the choice being ours all along, there are a number of other things celebrating Brexiteers should know such as those living in areas which voted to Leave the EU are more likely to be without a passport than those in Remain voting areas.
In an analysis of constituencies, the Financial Times found: “After education and occupation, the share of people not holding a passport was the next most strongly correlated characteristic with the Leave vote.”
The new design, which will no longer include the European Union insignia, will replace the burgundy cover that has been a feature of the UK passport since the 1980s once Britain leaves the EU in 2019.
Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis said the new passport will be the “most high-tech and secure we have ever seen”, making it more resistant to fraud and forgery.
Lewis said: “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.
“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.”
The new blue and gold design will then be issued to people renewing or applying for a new passport.
Blue was first used for the cover of the British passport in 1921, but the design changed in 1988 after the UK joined the European Economic Community and burgundy was chosen as the common colour.
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.
British passport holders do not need to do anything until their renewal date.
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