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  1. ITV Report

UK passports to turn blue after Britain leaves the European Union

Britain's traditional blue passports will make a return after Brexit, it has been confirmed.

The new blue and gold design, which will no longer need to conform to European Union standards, will replace the burgundy cover that was introduced in 1988.

Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis said the new passport will be the "most high-tech and secure we have ever seen", making it more resistant to fraud and forgery.

The passport will boasts updated security features and technologies, including a super-strength plastic polycarbonate material that will be used for the picture page making it difficult to alter.

"Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world," Mr Lewis said.

  • Boris Johnson on the new passport:

The blue cover planned for the new passports is a nod to the original appearance of the British passport, which was first used in 1921. It remained blue until the UK joined the EU.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told ITV News during a visit to Moscow: "I think it's a wonderful thing if people want to have a blue passport again. I remember a sense of personal loss and outrage when they were taken away.

"I couldn't understand why it had happened and I remember when Jacques Delors, the former president of the European Commission, said he wanted to calm the British people down, he said, 'We will give you back your blue passport' and they never did. Finally it's happened."

The passport is routinely redesigned every five years and the current contract expires in 2019, the year the UK is set to leave the European Union.

The new passports will be phased in from October 2019, and will be issued when citizens apply to renew their document. British passport holders do not need to do anything until their renewal date.

A UK Border Agency officer checks a passport in the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport, Sussex. Credit: PA

The return to the blue passport was part of Brexit supporters' campaign. Tory MP Andrew Rosindell described the EU burgundy passport as a source of national "humiliation".

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was delighted at the announcement Britain would be returning to the retro design. He tweeted: "Happy Brexmas!"

He added: "In the 2016 referendum, we wanted our passports back. Now we've got them back!"

Conservative MP Anna Soubry, a Remain supporter, tweeted: "Stand by for street parties as blue passports return. Not sure they'll make up for broken #Leave promise of extra £350m a week for #NHS."

Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said: "A new passport that make holidays more expensive, limits where people can work or study & costs billions."