Britain will start reintroducing traditional blue passports next month, the interior ministry said on Saturday February 22, replacing the burgundy European Union documents that have been in use since 1988.
Reverting to the dark blue of pre-EU days has been a point of pride for many Britons who voted to leave the bloc in a 2016 referendum – even though the new passport will be made by a Franco-Dutch firm.
Britain formally left the EU at the end of January and the introduction of the new passport will be phased in from early March. From mid-2020, all new passports will be blue.
The blue cover is a return to the original appearance of the British passport, with the colour first used in 1921, the ministry said.
The back cover will also carry its own symbolic design – the floral emblems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Awarding the 260 million pound ($335 million) contract to a foreign firm, Gemalto, with a French parent company Thales, generated some awkward headlines three years ago for then Prime Minister Theresa May.