UK minister urges regulators to reassure banks on Brexit transition

25 March, 2018, 01:41 | Author: Jason Torres
  • British lawmakers say UK should consider postponing Brexit

A handout photograph shows the original "blue" British passport, which was subsequently replaced by the burgundy EU British passport, supplied by the United Kingdom government in London, Thomson Reuters LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is set to make its first post-Brexit blue passport, a cherished symbol of independence for many who backed leaving the bloc, in EU member France, the chief executive of passport-making company De La Rue said on Thursday.

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

Shares in De La Rue dropped nearly 5% in London.

De La Rue boss Martin Sutherland said his firm had been told by the Home Office that it had missed out on the passports contract, amid reports Paris-based security giant Gemalto had won the bid.

He challenged the prime minister or the home secretary to "come to my factory and explain my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon".

"We've had that confirmed to us by the Home Office", he told BBC radio in reference to Britain's interior ministry, though the government said the process had not concluded.

"But now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France". Now we learn that the passports will be printed by a foreign company.

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Tory MP Sir Bill Cash said awarding the contract to an EU-based company would be completely wrong and unnecessary. "The return of our iconic blue passport will re-establish the British identity", she said.

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

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in February in Parliament that after Brexit, her country would go back to the blue and gold passports, something the UK wants for itself and not what the European Union prefers, reported the Guardian.

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

A government minister, Matt Hancock, opened the way for a potential appeal after saying that the procurement process had not been completed.

"All these Brexiteers claim to be champions of global free trade until it doesn't work out for their interests - at which point they magically transform into angry isolationists who don't back British firms to compete around the world", a spokesman said.

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