Post-Brexit UK passports to be printed in France after all

The “iconic” blue passport will be made by a Franco Dutch firm after Brexit More

A Franco-Dutch company on Wednesday won a contract to make British passports after the country leaves in the European Union, in a blow for Brexit campaigners.

De La Rue said on Wednesday it would continue to make the current burgundy version of the United Kingdom passport under its existing contract.

But the British firm said on Wednesday it would not appeal the government's decision to pick Gemalto and vowed to "assist with transition to the new supplier".

Chief executive Martin Sutherland called on Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to "come to my factory and explain to my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon".

"For the last decade De La Rue has produced the UK's passports securely without any problems and provided a source of decent well-paid jobs in the north east".

Britain's interior ministry said earlier this month that it had extended the bidding process by two weeks amid the backlash and following a request from De La Rue.

But he told the BBC's Today programme that the firm had now reconsidered.

A spokesman said: 'As we initially announced, we have looked at all possible avenues open to us, and thoroughly evaluated all our options.

But reports a foreign firm had won the tender to produce the new passport led to criticism from some politicians and newspapers that the government was being unpatriotic, and De La Rue had said it would challenge the decision.

'We have been advised that the grounds for overturning the decision are insufficiently strong to justify continuing this course of action'.

Despite their French-sounding name, De La Rue (who make the current burgundy passports) objected to the new ones being manufactured in the European Union.

He called the award of the deal to Gemalto "surprising and disappointing" and questioned "why the British government isn't supporting British industry". It claimed that it had been "undercut on price" by Gemalto.

Its shares fell 9% to a year low of 446 pence at one stage today after De La Rue said it would write-off about £4m of costs associated with the failed bid.

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