British passports will be returning to their “iconic” blue and gold colour once Great Britain steps out of the European Union. The Home Office announced that passports issued or renewed after October 2019 will no longer be burgundy.
Immigration Minister Lewis is Thrilled
Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis expressed his delight with the thought of moving back to the “iconic” blue and gold design that first saw use nearly a century ago. As of October 2019, anyone obtaining a passport for the first time or renewing an existing one will receive a blue and gold version instead of the current burgundy format.
The burgundy passports were initially rolled out in 1988 and were not the result of the United Kingdom’s participation in the European Union. At no point had the E.U. compelled the U.K. to alter the colour of its passport covers. In fact, the E.U. does not have the power to force a change of the British passport’s colour.
Happy Brexmas! https://t.co/vsrCMeln1e
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 22, 2017
The change from the former blue to the new burgundy passports was made by the United Kingdom as a part of a broader effort by the then European Economic Community (EEC) member states. They chose to create a more common design among them to make travel easier on border officials and on the travellers themselves. It was not something related to joining the European Union which was not yet in existence at the time.
Not all countries chose to take part. Croatia, for instance, kept their own blue passports instead of matching the burgundy of the other EEC members. Great Britain, on the other hand, opted for the change.
Nigel Farage, former leader of the UKIP, tweeted “Happy Brexmas!” in response to the announcement regarding the passport cover colours. “In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back. Now we’ve got them back!” he added.
Equally, Labour MP Mary Creagh tweeted “No-one under 45 will have owned a blue passport, and most will think they’re not worth £50 billion and crashing the economy.”
Lewis was interviewed on the Today BBC Radio 4 programme, stating that he was aware of many Remain voters who maintained an “attachment” to the old blue passports and who “speak fondly” of them.