British passports issued with 'European Union' removed
Unfortunately they are still not blue
The British government has started issuing passports without the words "European Union" on them even though the UK remains a full member of the bloc - for now.
The Home Office was working under the assumption that Brexit day would have been 29 March. This has since been extended with the UK currently due to leave the EU on 12 April but, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by MPs.
Theresa May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to request an extension to 30 June. However, she says if the House of Commons agrees a deal in time, the UK should be able to leave the EU before the European parliamentary elections on 23 May.
Regarding the new passports, the Home Office have released a statement saying the removal of the words "European Union" was part of a two-stage process that will culminate in the old blue British passports being reissued from late 2019.
Of course, the blue passport was emblematic of the UK government’s promise to “take back control” after the 2017 election.
The statement reads: "Burgundy passports that no longer include the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover will be introduced from 30 March 2019.
"Passports that include the words 'European Union' will continue to be issued for a short period after this date. You will not be able to choose whether you get a passport that includes the words 'European Union', or a passport that does not. You will not be issued with a passport that includes the words 'European Union' after the UK has left the EU.
"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 include the words 'European Union'. Both designs will be equally valid for travel. UK passports issued before the UK leaves the EU will remain valid travel documents. You do not have to replace a passport that meets your travel needs."
So, while some people may laugh or guffaw at all of this, it's encouraging to see that while the UK struggles to get their exit from the EU over the line, they remain focused on the important details.