The new blue British passports are likely to be made in the EU following the successful tender of the Dutch-French company Gemalto. Sources from the Government are suggesting that the new contract will save the tax-payer around £120 million.
A spokesperson for the Government said:
“The preferred bidder has been selected following a rigorous, fair and open competition and all bidders were notified of the outcome last night. The chosen company demonstrated that they will be best able to meet the needs of our passport service with a high quality and secure product at the best value for money for our customers and the taxpayer.
It’s been the case since 2009 that we do not require passports to be manufactured in the UK. A proportion of passports have been made overseas since then with up to 20 per cent of blank passport books currently produced in Europe with no security or operational concerns”.
De la Rue, the company that currently holds the tender to produce UK passports said in a statement:
“Over the last few months we have heard ministers happy to come on the media and talk about the new blue passport and the fact that it is an icon of British identity. But now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France. I’d like to ask Theresa May or Amber Rudd to come to my factory and explain to our dedicated workforce why this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon”.
Priti Patel, the former Cabinet Minister who quit after breaches of the Ministerial Code were uncovered, condemned the decision and said that it was “a national humiliation”.