05:18 GMT20 January 2021
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    Last year, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK would be switching back to the iconic blue passports of the past, describing the move as an “expression of our independence and sovereignty.” It recently transpired that a foreign firm was likely to be awarded the contract, drawing criticism from Brexiteers and UK businessmen.

    England-based banknote and passport manufacturing firm De La Rue announced that it would be appealing the UK government’s decision to award the contract to rival Franco-Dutch security firm, Gemalto.

    The company announced the move via an official statement on April 2, and insisted that its bid was the “highest quality and technically most secure,” while admitting they couldn’t compete with Gemalto on price, with their bid reportedly undercutting rivals by US$70 million.  

    READ MORE: 'National Humiliation!' Post-Brexit UK Passports Set to be Made in France

    “Based on our knowledge of the market, it’s our view that ours was the highest quality and technically most secure bid. While accepting that its tender represented a significant discount on the current price… We can accept that we weren’t the cheapest,” De La Rue – which holds the contract for the manufacture of British passports until 2019 – said in a statement.

    In response to the firm's appeal, the British government has extended the standstill period of the contract awarding process by two weeks, according to PM May's spokesperson.

    Although Gemalto is yet to officially be awarded the contract, the prospect of the UK’s passports being manufactured abroad, especially given the PM's comments about "independence and sovereignty," has been the subject of controversy, with Brits taking to social media to express their anger last month.  

    Chief executive of De La Rue Martin Sutherland previously called on PM May to visit the company’s factory in Hampshire and tell the workers why she thinks it’s “a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon.”

    READ MORE: Black or Blue? Twitterians Struggle to Decide What Color UK Passport Was

    “Over the last few months, we have heard ministers happy to come on the media and talk about the new blue passport and the fact that it is an icon of British identity. But now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France,” Mr. Sutherland added.

    In light of the company’s decision to challenge the UK government’s awarding of the contract abroad, Brits have once again taken to social media to react, with many of them supporting De La Rue’s appeal.



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    Blue passport, independence, Brexit, De La Rue, UK Government, Gemalto, Martin Sutherland, Theresa May, Europe, United Kingdom, France
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