In a statement, Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said that following the exit from the European Union, British passports would be changed back to their “original” appearance, a blue and gold design from before the UK joined the EU.
The blue passports will be issued from October 2019.
Lewis said he was “delighted” to announce the decision and called the move symbolic.
“Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world,” he said.
They will have additional security features that include top-of-the-line anti-fraud technology, he added.
The new passports will be phased in slowly, with current British passport holders able to continue using their burgundy passports until they expire.
After the scheduled Brexit in March 2019, the burgundy passports will continue to be printed, but without the words “European Union.”
By October 2019, all new British passports will be printed in the blue and gold coloring, which dates back to the original UK passport design from 1921.
On Twitter, some said the announcement spoke to a broader divide around Brexit.
Gordon McKee, a Scottish Labour party press officer, wrote, “This sums up the unfortunate generational divide on Brexit. I’m not getting a blue passport ‘back,’ I’ve never had one. I have though had a passport that allows me visa free travel across Europe all of my life.”
Comedian Simon Blackwell reacted to the news with a dose of sarcasm. “Why do we need any colour passport? We should just be able to shout, ‘British! Less of your nonsense!’ and stroll straight through,” he wrote.
Brexiteers welcomed the decision, including Conservative member of Parliament Michael Fabricant, and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who had called for an end to using the burgundy passport in the run-up to the referendum in 2016.
In April, Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell told the Press Association that the burgundy passport subjected the nation to “humiliation.”
“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,” Rosindell said.
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