The new passports were first issued the day after the expected Brexit date on March 30 after assuming the UK’s EU departure would not be delayed. Passports with the “European Union” on the top will still be issued to use up the remaining stock. However, citizens applying for a travel document will not be able to choose between the two burgundy-coloured front covers. The UK’s Brexit date was initially pushed back until April 12, but Theresa May has now requested a further extension until June 30 to allow time for her deal to be passed through the Commons.
The change to the passports has sparked outrage among Remainers across the country.
Ann Lander wrote on Twitter: “How can this be? UK is still a member.”
Susan Hindle Barone, who received her new passport this week, said she thought the design should not change while the UK remains a member of the EU and that she was “truly appalled”.
She said: “I was just surprised – we’re still members of the EU. I was surprised they’ve made the change when we haven’t left, and it’s a tangible mark of something which I believe to be completely futile.
“What do we gain by leaving? There’s certainly a whole lot we lose.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Burgundy passports that no longer include the words European Union on the front cover were introduced from 30 March 2019.
“In order to use leftover stock and achieve best value to the taxpayer, passports that include the words European Union will continue to be issued for a short period after this date.
“There will be no difference for British citizens whether they are using a passport that includes the words European Union, or a passport that does not. Both designs will be equally valid for travel.”
However, the Home Office also said the removal of the words was just one part of a two-stage process.
The second stage will be returning the colour of British passports to blue later this year.
A change in the design on the UK passport has been a rallying point for Brexiteers after former Ukip leader Nigel Farage described the 2017 decision to bring back the blue cover as “Brexmas”.