A petition demanding the Government give the contract for its blue Brexit passports to a British firm has cleared 100,000 signatures in a day.
The new design, modelled on the iconic ‘Old Blue’ passport held by British citizens before the current, EU-branded maroon passport was introduced to bring Britain in line with Brussels standards and recommendations, were hailed as a symbol of the country’s restoration as a sovereign nation-state.
The move triggered a furious reaction from EU loyalists and unreconstructed Remain supporters — but their anger has turned to gloating as the Government reveals it intends to award the contract to make the new passports to a Franco-Dutch firm rather than the British firm which produces the current version.
Blue passport maker Gemalto is in the process of being taken over by Thales – the French state-backed defence contractor and weapons maker. Labour's frontbench will love that
— steve hawkes (@steve_hawkes) March 23, 2018
She argues Britain must submit to the contract being tendered abroad — in line with EU competition rules — in order to demonstrate the commitment of “Global Britain” to “a culture of free trade and fair play” — despite the fact that France insists only French firms can bid for its own passport contracts for national security reasons.
Daniel Hannan MEP, too, has welcomed the outsourcing as “value for money” and “an apt symbol of a globally engaged, free-trading, independent Britain.”
Made internationally, at a competitive price, offering taxpayers the best possible value for money. The new blue passport is an apt symbol of a globally engaged, free-trading, independent Britain. pic.twitter.com/CrJIogaRQb
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) March 22, 2018
But the market idealists and penny pinchers have failed to win over the public, with over 110,000 people signing a petition organised by the Daily Mail and MailOnline for the passports to be made in Britain.
Sending the work abroad could threaten jobs at the Tyneside plant where passports are currently manufactured by De La Rue, and Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to explain her decision to workers there.
“[W]e have heard over the last few weeks and months ministers more than happy to come on the media and talk about the blue passports and the fact that the blue passport is an icon of British identity,” observed De La Rue boss Martin Sutherland.
“Now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France.”