UK issues passports without EU label despite Brexit uncertainty

Britons express surprise, say the European Union name should remain on passports while country is still in the bloc.

British passport
Post-Brexit UK passports are expected to be blue, but burgundy ones without the EU label are being issued [File: Andy Rain/EPA-EFE]

British authorities have begun issuing passports without the European Union insignia on them, the BBC reported on Friday, despite the delay to Brexit.

The new passports were first introduced on March 30, a day after the United Kingdom was initially scheduled to leave the 28-member bloc. It is not clear when, or if, the UK will leave the EU. 

A Home Office spokeswoman told the British broadcaster that delivery centres will continue printing the pre-Brexit EU-UK design until stocks run out “in order … to achieve best value to the taxpayer”.

“There will be no difference for British citizens whether they are using a passport that includes the words European Union, or a passport that does not. Both designs will be equally valid for travel,” she said.

Britons have expressed mixed feelings about the new design, with some shocked that the change has been made before Brexit.

Susan Hindle Barone told the Press Association she thought the design should not change as long as the UK remained part of the EU.

“I was just surprised – we’re still members of the EU. I was surprised they’ve made the change when we haven’t left, and it’s a tangible mark of something which I believe to be completely futile,” she said.

Post-Brexit UK passports are expected to look entirely different, abandoning the burgundy colour that the UK adopted in 1988 to be in line with the rest of Europe. 

In late 2017, then Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis announced that the UK would return to the “iconic” blue and gold design, which had been used some 100 years ago.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, who had campaigned to bring the blue passport back, said the change amounted to a Christmas present “to those who care about our national identity”, drawing the ire of a few constituents who ironically questioned whether the new design would allow them to work in neighbouring countries.

Source: Al Jazeera

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