I trust that the irony of the decision to award the contract for new British blue passports to a foreign company has not passed the public by.
The reason that Gemalto, a Franco-Dutch company, has been nominated over a local British company is because the UK is still (at least until Brexit) required to follow EU competition rules.
Achieving best value is always to be desired, but we should be free to choose to which company we hand taxpayers’ cash in the particular circumstances of the work involved. Sometimes the value of creating or protecting local jobs will outweigh a marginal cost saving.
The passports are currently manufactured by a firm in my constituency and so this decision is particularly painful.
Unlike many Brexiteers, the colour of our passports doesn’t really bother me. What does concern me is what they symbolise: regaining our freedom from EU rules and regulations; our ability to once again make our own choices.
The decision to send this contract overseas, to the detriment of local jobs, is another illustration of why we are right to leave.
Jonathan Arnott MEP