Blue passport controversy could become senseless row

Morning View
Morning View

It seems only a short time ago that it was confirmed that blue British passports were returning to the UK after Brexit.

This brought cheer to many people across the nation who were nostalgic for those old passports.

Then things began to move quickly and the government has awarded the contract to produce the blue passports to a Franc0-Dutch firm.

This has caused a storm of protest. because the passports are not being made in the UK.

It has now emerged that the manufacturer De La Rue has said it is preparing to take the government to court over over the matter.

It was the “highest quality” option for producing the passports. The government says their decision to give the contract to Gemalto will save taxpayers £120 million.

There is a risk that this becomes a senseless row.

Yes it will be wonderful to see the blue passports again.

Yes it will be particularly nice if it goes to a British firm.

But if there are major savings to be made, the government has a duty to consider that option.

There are huge issues that are yet to be resolved about Brexit.

From a Northern Ireland perspective the most important by far is the very unhelpful way in which Dublin has taken a very hard line on the land border. It might yet try to hold up negotiations.

The prime minister, most recently to this newspaper, has given a pledge that there will be no border in the Irish Sea but that remains an alarming prospect, despite the assurances.

The UK as a whole has to get its relationship with the EU right, which will take a long time.

Ultimately, the day should come in which the UK can prove that it is up to standing apart from the EU, and working to become the best manufacturers of a range of products, perhaps including passports.