Daily Mail


As elite mock ‘nostalgic’ return of traditiona­l colour, MPs warn...

- By Daniel Martin Policy Editor Turn to Page 2

ELITISTS should stop sneering at ordinary Britons who have hailed the return of blue passports, MPs said last night.

A former leading adviser to Margaret Thatcher said ditching the EU’s burgundy colour pandered to the nostalgia of ‘elderly’ Brexit voters.

And a Labour MP claimed the switch had ‘imperial overtones’ as former party leader Ed Miliband chimed in saying it was ‘an expression of how mendacious, absurd and parochial we look to the world’. But Tory MPs said the attacks came from ‘smug’ pro-Remainers who mocked anyone ‘outside their privileged metropolit­an comfort zone’.

Nadine Dorries said last night: ‘What this reaction demonstrat­es is the contempt with which many of the Remain establishm­ent hold the electorate – voters who decided by a clear majority to leave the EU.

‘Sadly, some people seem to think it’s shameful and wrong to be proud of our country.

‘The people voted to take back control – so why should we not take back control of our passports and return to the traditiona­l navy blue?

‘Eighteen months after the referendum, the elitists need to accept the result and start being positive about

the future.’ Andrew Percy, a Conservati­ve former minister, said: ‘This is yet another example of the smugness of some Remainers who can’t accept that many people outside their privileged metropolit­an comfort zone, actually care about the symbols that represent us overseas.

‘These people continue to look down their noses at ordinary people who dare to have a different view to them. Since the referendum all they have done is insult and mock people who voted for Brexit.

‘I’m of an age that I’ve only ever had a burgundy EU passport, but lots of people of my generation welcome the return to tradition as it puts us on a par with proper modern independen­t countries around the world such as Canada, Australia or Japan.’

Theresa May announced the return of navy passports last week, describing them as an expression of ‘independen­ce and sovereignt­y’.

They will replace the EU’s burgundy

‘Expression of independen­ce’

‘Turning the clock back 100 years’

documents from October 2019. The announceme­nt prompted demands that the passports should be made in the UK. Three firms – British, French and German – are bidding for the contract and, under EU rules, the Government cannot favour a domestic company and must choose the best value bid.

A third Tory MP, Andrew Rosindell, said: ‘The refusal to accept the decision of the British people to get out of the EU by those who never wanted to give UK citizens the right to vote in the first place, shows what contempt they have for our democracy. Getting out of the EU gives us a fantastic opportunit­y to reassert British national identity and getting our British passport back, that does not have to conform with what the EU demands, is a brilliant first step.

‘Next we have to remove EU flags from embassies, driving licences and number plates. There’s loads more to come, so the Remoaners had better get used to it.’

The Thatcher aide, Charles Powell, who was her private secretary from 1983 to 1990, claimed during the EU referendum campaign that she would have voted for Remain in June 2016.

At the weekend he rebuked politician­s who welcomed the announceme­nt, saying the campaign for a blue passport was ‘ part of the nostalgia on which the predominan­tly elderly Brexit constituen­cy thrives’.

‘So long as they are content with symbols, rather than substance, I see no harm in letting them have their way,’ the peer said. ‘Perhaps we should go the whole hog and reintroduc­e ambassador­ial dress uniforms, as well as bowler hats and stiff collars for senior civil servants.’

He added: ‘If we get their agreement to full alignment with the single market in return, it’s a good deal.’

Labour MP David Lammy described the change in passport colour as embarrassi­ng. ‘Brexit is beginning to feel like a huge effort to turn the clock back 100 years with some misguided imperial overtones,’ he added.

And his colleague Chuka Umunna told the Prime Minister: ‘Utter nonsense. This belittles our country and your office.’

The European Parliament’s chief representa­tive on Brexit, Guy Verhofstad­t, said the UK had not been forced to choose burgundy when the switch from blue was made in 1988. He tweeted: ‘The UK could have had any passport colour it wanted and stay in the EU.’

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said: ‘Can’t wait to tell my two British children that although they are losing the right to live and work throughout Europe, they get to get a blue passport.’ Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon described the episode as ‘insular, inward-looking, blue passport-obsessed nonsense’. Labour MPs were accused of spreading fake news after claiming the switch would cost half a billion pounds.

The contract for the new passports is worth £490million – and the Home Office said this would be the same amount whether the documents are blue or burgundy.

But Labour MPs, including the education spokesman Angela Rayner, claimed the huge amount was being spent just to change the colour.

 ??  ?? Coming soon: The new passport
Coming soon: The new passport

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