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UK passport maker to appeal loss of "Brexit blue" contract

UK Passport office in London
UK Passport office in London
By Tokunbo Salako with Reuters
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A petition in support of De La Rue, the British firm that makes UK passports, now tops 270,000 signatures


British passport maker De La Rue has been given an extra two weeks to challenge the government's decision to award the contract to make new, blue passports after Brexit to a European company.

The manufacturer says it's not the cheapest however it's the most secure.

But supporters of the move to give the contract to an overseas company say it's unfair to impose trade rules that limit competition.

"The fact is that they were outbid and the price went somewhere else. So if you want to be protectionist that's one way of doing things but don't move towards a belief that a Brexit Britain or a Brexiting Britain is therefore a free trading nation because it is simply not," said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced post-Brexit Britain would change its passports from burgundy to blue - closer to how they looked before the colour of EU passports was harmonised in 1988 - in "an expression of our independence and sovereignty".

De La Rue lost the 450-million euro contract to French-Dutch firm Gemalto last month. The Home Office says the new deal could save the taxpayer up to 100-million euros.

The Daily Mail newspaper has applauded De La Rue for "coming out fighting" and urged the government to "put security and patriotism first" by reversing its decision.

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