Immigration minister Brandon Lewis says replacing EU’s burgundy design will help Britain ‘restore national identity’
British passports issued after October 2019 will be dark blue and gold, replacing the burgundy model required under EU membership.
The British passport is redesigned every five years, and the new version will come into production next autumn when the current contract expires, the Home Office has announced.
The return of the navy cover, first used in 1921, is being hailed as a victory by pro-Brexit MPs, who had campaigned for a return to the colour.
The government said the new passport, which would include updated features and technology, would be one of the most secure in the world.
Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister, 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.”
After the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, burgundy passports will continue to be issued but with no reference to the trade bloc.
The blue and gold passports will be issued from October 2019, when the £490m passport contract begins, to British nationals renewing or applying for a new passport.
The Home Office said British passport holders would not need to take any action before their current renewal date. More details would be released in spring 2019 when the supplier had been appointed.
A brief history of the passport
The first burgundy machine-readable passports were issued in the UK in 1988, after the common format introduced by the European Economic Community.
Speaking in April, the Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said the burgundy EU passport had been a source of national “humiliation”.
“The restoration of our own British passport is a clear statement to the world that Britain is back. Our British identity was slowly but surely being submerged into an artificial European one that most Brits felt increasingly unhappy about,” he told Press Association.
“The humiliation of having a pink European Union passport will now soon be over and the United Kingdom nationals can once again feel pride and self-confidence in their own nationality when travelling, just as the Swiss and Americans can do.
“National identity matters and there is no better way of demonstrating this today than by bringing back this much-loved national symbol when travelling overseas.”
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