Red passport, blue passport….
Quite a tongue twister if you say it quickly 3 times over….but no matter how many times you repeat it, it won’t alter the ironic fact that the contract to produce the new, blue, après-Brexit British passports has been won by Gemalto, a French firm based in Paris.
When the Hampshire-based firm, De La Rue, who has produced British passports for the past 12 years, raised its prices, this French company undercut them by £50 million….a hefty chunk of tax payer’s pennies.
Rather ironically, the new contract, planned to debut in 2019 to coincide with Brexit, hardly seems to be in line with the Brexit policy and appears rather to be at the expense of the British economy.
To be fair, Gemalto do apparently have factories on several sites in Britain but whilst a Home Office spokesman said that Gemalto could create up to 70 jobs in the UK, British company De La Rue will probably have to cut down on many more jobs as a result f losing the contract.
Ex Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke dismissed the brewing row as ‘nationalist nonsense’, saying that it would be “totally ridiculous to abandon the principle (of winning fair, international contracts) in order to give in to nationalist nonsense which ought to be ignored”.