Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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Brexit win or cringe? UK reacts to new blue passport

Anti-EU right wing celebrates return of pre-EU colour but others are less enthusiastic.

blue passport

The UK has announced it will change the colour of its passports from the EU-associated burgundy currently in circulation to the pre-EU blue.

British Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement on Friday, promising the return of the "iconic" travel document by 2019.

"The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty, symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation," she said in a tweet announcing the passport, which will also contain new security features to prevent forgery.

She added: "The iconic (blue passport) will return after we leave the European Union in 2019."

When Britain joined the EU, it adopted the burgundy coloured document in keeping with other member states, replacing the blue one, which had been adopted in 1921.

Existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid until they expire.

'Tangible victory'

After a year of gruelling negotiations with the EU, Brexit supporters are hailing the return of blue passports as a "victory".

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage called the move the "first, real, tangible" victory since the referendum to leave the EU in 2016. 

"In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back. Now we've got them back," he wrote on Twitter.

His joy was shared by others on Twitter, including Conservative MP James Cleverly, who wrote: "The new UK passport will be high tech, almost impossible to forge, have biometric data, polycarbonate pages, cost the same as the current ones but they’ll be a traditional dark blue. Result!!!"

Others responded with embarrassment at the perceived trivial nature of the change, and concern about what they considered to be the more serious consequences of leaving the EU.

"This actually made me cringe with embarrassment. It sums up the tiny mindedness and misinformed thinking of #Brextremists," said a Twitter user with the name MakeBritainNiceAgain.

Responding to Farage, user Vinnie Cocozza wrote: "You know you could have just gone to (a pound shop) and bought a tasteful passport holder." 

The UK has until March 2019 to conclude negotiations to leave the EU.

Earlier this month, the UK and the EU agreed on Brexit terms, which included a settlement to be paid by Britain to the bloc that could reach 50bn pounds ($67bn).

Right-wing newspapers have criticised the government for conceding too much to the EU.

Meanwhile, those against the departure have slammed May for pursuing a "hard Brexit", which would end freedom of movement between the UK and the EU, halt London's membership of the single market, and see its withdrawal from the customs union.

In the coming year, the two sides will initiate talks on the UK's future relationship with the EU.

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