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UK Passports to Return to 'Iconic Blue and Gold' After Brexit


FILE - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage holds up a British passport, with the EU burgundy sleeve, as he makes a speech in London, June 22, 2016, before the Brexit vote.

Britain announced Friday it would return to "iconic" blue and gold passports after it formally leaves the European Union in 2019.

Since 1988, British passports have been issued with a burgundy sleeve along with other European Union countries.

Supporters of Brexit hailed the decision as a reclaiming of Britain's independence from the EU, while opponents have mocked their attachment to something superficial and have voiced concern that Brexit will diminish the country's standing in the world.

"The UK passport is an expression of our independence and sovereignty — symbolizing our citizenship of a proud, great nation," Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter.

"That's why we have announced that the iconic blue passport will return after we leave the European Union in 2019."

But a number of lawmakers, including some from May's own party, said Friday the changing of a passport color would not appease those who opposed Brexit, many of whom are more concerned about economic issues and relations with Europe.

The announcement comes a week after EU leaders agreed to allow Britain to move onto the next phase of Brexit negotiations. The second phase of Brexit will be focused on post-Brexit relations between London and the European Union and any potential future trade agreements.

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