European Union negotiator Guy Verhofstadt mocks Brexiteers with offer of blue passports

Blue passport

Blue passport

Blue was first used for the cover of the British passport in 1921, but the design changed in 1988 after the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community and burgundy was chosen as the common colour.

"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.

"Leaving the European Union gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world", May's Conservative party said in a statement about the passport change. But Britain switched to burgundy from 1988, in common with other passports of what was then the European Community.

An online poll by Sky News showed 57% of 51,000 participants did not care about the colour of their passport.

Official guidance advises that member states' passports should be "burgundy red" and include stipulated features, such as the number of pages and information that must be included.

"But changing to blue would have looked odd, whereas now it doesn't look that odd", he added.

Photographs of traditional British passports, shared to a microblogging platform, have recently sparked a massive debate over the real color of the documents' covers.

The new blue passports will be issued from October 2019 to those renewing or applying for a new passport.

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Mr Goddard said that initially, from March 2019, British passports will remain burgundy but will have no reference to the European Union.

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell described the burgundy passport as "pink" and a source of national "humiliation".

Entrepreneur James Caan said: "A country that would spend £500m to change the colour of a passport while children sleep on the streets is a country whose priorities are wholly out of whack".

But Labour MP Mary Creagh pointed out that no one under age 45 will understand the symbolism.

Once Britain leaves the European Union on March 29 2019 existing passports will gradually be phased out and the new traditional colour passport will gradually be brought back in.

"In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back".

Far right-wing leader Nigel Farage hailed the decision as a return to "individuality and national identity", while British musician Billy Bragg referred to it as an "effort to turn back the clock".

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