Conservative MPs brand blue passport critics ‘smug’ and ‘elitist’

A group of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs have branded critics of blue passports “elitist” people who think it is “wrong to be proud of our country”.

“What this reaction demonstrates is the contempt with which many of the Remain establishment hold the electorate,” Nadine Dorries told the Daily Mail.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire added: “Sadly, some people seem to think it’s shameful and wrong to be proud of our country…  Why should we not take back control of our passports and return to the traditional navy blue?”

Her colleague Andrew Percy added that it was “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.”

It followed Theresa May’s claims earlier this week that the new blue passport is an expression of post-Brexit “independence and sovereignty”.

Eurosceptic MPs seized on the news as a symbol of Britain casting off Europe’s influence but it later emerged  that Britain could have chosen to switch the colour regardless of Brexit.

There is no Brussels regulation which states that EU countries’ passports have to be a certain colour, only a legally non-binding European Council resolution from 1981 that recommends burgundy.

The European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has openly mocked the UK’s decision to bring back blue passports.

Posting a picture on Twitter, of piles of mocked up passports bearing the blue and yellow EU flag.

“If we had known it was so important to the UK, we could simply have replaced our passports by this one,” he said.

Some Labour MPs criticised the decision to change the colour. The party’s former leader Ed Miliband said it was “an expression of how mendacious … absurd and parochial we look to the world”.

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David Lammy meanwhile said Brexit was “turning us into a laughing stock”.

He added: “But don’t worry, when we’re all stood in the airport for 4 hours we can stand in the queue and look at just how blue [the passports] are,” he added.

Charles Powell, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, described enthusiasm for the blue passport as “part of the nostalgia on which the predominantly elderly Brexit constituency thrives”.

  • More about:
  • Brexit
  • blue passports
  • Theresa May
  • Guy Verhofstadt

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