SOME scream “betrayal” at the news a French company has won the contract to print British passports for a decade from 2019.
This is short-sighted, hypocritical and wrong.
Having voted for Brexit, I fully understand the case for leaving the European Union is based on regaining control of our laws, borders and money.
But it also rests on the need for the world’s fifth-biggest economy to conduct much more overseas trade, staying as open as possible to commercial and investment ties with our European neighbours and the rest of the world too.
There is a huge global economy out there, 85 per cent of which will be beyond the EU once Britain leaves.
This is where the growth is, the emerging giants of the East, the mass markets of tomorrow with which Britain must trade to secure future prosperity.
How ridiculous and insular the Government would have looked awarding a contract to a British company just because it is British, even though it was beaten, fair and square, in a competitive bidding process.
That would have made the UK seem parochial and protectionist, just as we reboot our economy to be more outward-looking and trade-oriented than ever.
Some ardent Brexiteers — driven by noble feelings of patriotism — are upset the post-Brexit British passport, returning to its iconic black-blue colour, has been awarded to Gemalto.
The Franco-Dutch firm prevailed over De La Rue and a German rival.
But it is surely right the Home Office awarded the contract after a “blind tender”, where the identity of each firm was concealed.
Gemalto won because its bid was deemed superior on technical and cost grounds, saving the taxpayer £12million a year over the next decade.
To read Liam Halligan’s piece in full, click here.