Home Office insists 'iconic' blue UK passports are not black

Written by Richard Johnstone on 3 January 2018 in News

Department issues rebuttal to claims that it misled the public over the changes to the colour of passports following Brexit

Colour blind: Composite of the former and current UK passports. Credit: PA

The Home Office has released a statement to insist that the planned changes to the colour of the British passport will return it to its previous colour of navy blue and to maintain that the colour of passports before the 1988 change to burgundy was not black.

In a rebuttal released on the department’s website, the Home Office stated that a report in The Times that claimed the department had admitted that the image released to confirm the 2019 post-Brexit switch “looks nothing like the real thing” was incorrect.

“As we explained to The Times, the colour of the new passport will be returning to its previous navy blue. The image alongside our announcement on Friday 22 December is a mock-up produced for illustrative purposes before the final design is completed with the future supplier next year. The colour will be navy blue and the design embossed in gold. At no point did we say that the image ‘looks nothing like the real thing’.

“Since its introduction in 1921, there have been a few variants of that navy blue colour but it has never been black, as some commentators have suggested.”

The department released an image of the passport design from 1971 (left) to back up its claim. 

However, it has since been discovered that official Home Office guidance has also referred to the pre-1988 passports as the “old black or blue passport”.

About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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Zazzibar (not verified)

Submitted on 3 January, 2018 - 13:22
They were not black in the sense that green papers are no longer green and pink is really yellow. Calling black blue is symptomatic of May's drive to totalitarianism - if she says black is blue we can all look forward to blue coal and playing rugby against the The New Zealand All Blues. And all because the little englanders want the 1930s back.

Thomas Palmer (not verified)

Submitted on 3 January, 2018 - 13:24
Why the hell does passport colour even matter?

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