The Labour Party shadow home secretary was quizzed about the future of UK passports after it was reported that Brexit Britain’s new blue passports would be printed by a Franco-Dutch company, instead of a UK firm.
The shadow home secretary claimed the debate surrounding the new British passports was reflective of how “chaotic” the Conservative’s delivery of Brexit was.
The Co-chair of Leave Means Leave, Mr Tice, was quick to quiz the Labour frontbencher as they debated on BBC’s Any Questions?
Ms Abbott said: “It’s surprising because all of the Tory Brexiteers were telling us that we were going to get our country back but it looks like we can’t even print our own passports.
“It was surprising and it shows you how chaotic the Brexit is that the Tories are negotiating.”
Mr Tice interrupted the Labour Party frontbencher demanding to know what was wrong with the Conservative’s Brexit approach.
He said: “Diane what is chaotic about seeking the best deal for the British taxpayer?”
Ms Abbott replied: “Actually you are going to lose hundreds of jobs by agreeing to have the passport not printed in Britain.
“But just to say this, it reflects much of the chaos.
“We are going to hear presumably later this evening about what is happening with fishermen who are furious.
“We respect the vote on the referendum but we always want a Brexit that is not self-harming.”
When pressed about what she thought the UK should do surrounding the future production of British passports, Ms Abbott said: “I think it is interesting that the French managed to have their passports printed in France because they say it is a security issue and I think that is an interesting point”.
The clash comes after on Thursday many Brexit supporting MPs have reacted angrily to reports the new passport will be produced by a non-British company.
The Home Office said a winning bid has been chosen but it is up to the supplier to announce the news.
Martin Sutherland, the CEO of the current producer of the passport De La Rue, told BBC’s Today programme that Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto will be printing the new passports after they had been outbid.
In a statement, the Home Office said: “The preferred bidder has been selected following a rigorous, fair and open competition and all bidders were notified of the outcome last night.
“The chosen company demonstrated that they will be best able to meet the needs of our passport service with a high quality and secure product at the best value for money for our customers and the taxpayer. It’s been the case since 2009 that we do not require passports to be manufactured in the UK.
“A proportion of passports have been made overseas since then with up to 20 percent of blank passport books currently produced in Europe with no security or operational concerns.”
According to the department, the preferred bid will save the taxpayer approximately £120 million during the lifetime of the eleven-and-a-half year contract.
Up to 70 jobs will be created at factories in Fareham, Hampshire, and Heywood, Greater Manchester, the Home Office said, adding that the quality of the passport was prioritised over cost when examining the bids at a split of 60/40. While the blank books may be manufactured overseas, passport holders’ personal details and pictures will be added in the UK.
March 24th, 2018: Express