Westminster today – LIVE: Theresa May urged to explain why new Blue UK passports will be made in France


Theresa May and Amber Rudd have been urged to explain to UK workers why new British passports to be introduced after Brexit will be made in France.

The passports had become a totemic issue for Brexiteers, who celebrated the Government’s decision to bring back the traditional blue passports.

However, it has now emerged that these will be issued in France. Martin Sutherland, the boss of the UK company that lost out on the £490m contract, said: 

Theresa May will travel to Brussels later for a European Council meeting where EU leaders will vote on the Brexit transition deal.

Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, will answer questions from MPs and journalists about the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook row.

Live Updates

17 mins ago

New official figures released this morning reveal a 64 per cent rise in the number of families living in temporary accommodation since 2010. May Bulman has the story:

Number of families in temporary accommodation up 64% since 2010

The number of households living in temporary accommodation has surged by 64 per cent since the Tories came to power in 2010, new figures show. Almost 790,000 families were staying in temporary housing in the last three months of last year because they didn’t have a permanent home, compared with 48,010 in the same period eight years before. The figures, published by the Government on Thursday, have been branded “unacceptable” by campaigners, who warn that temporary accommodation can have a “devastating” impact on people’s lives and mental health.


35 mins ago

Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, has told MPs the row over Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is a “turning point” when it comes to regulation of internet companies. He said:
“We have shown and made the case over the last year that this Wild West free-for-all of the internet companies has got to come to an end. I think this is a turning point.”

49 mins ago

MPs held a minute’s silence in the House of Commons this morning to mark the first anniversary of the Westminster terror attack. Here’s Lizzy Buchan‘s story: 

MPs pause for minute’s silence to remember those killed in the Westminster attack

MPs have observed a minute’s silence in memory of those who died during the Westminster terror attack last year. With bowed heads, politicians filled the House of Commons chamber to mark the tragedy, where five people were killed and 50 others injured when Islamist extremist Khalid Masood ploughed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. Masood then stabbed Pc Keith Palmer, an unarmed constable guarding the gates of Parliament, before he was shot by an armed police officer in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.

1 hour ago

Breaking: The Kremlin has just responded to Boris Johnson’s claims that Russia will use this summer’s World Cup in the same way that Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Moscow said the comments were “disgusting and unacceptable”.

1 hour ago

Trade unions have also criticised the decision to award the contract for making the new British passports to a Franco-Dutch firm.

Unite’s national officer, Louisa Bull, said:


“Theresa May and Amber Rudd need to explain to De La Rue workers why ‘taking back control’ means their jobs could be put at risk while the production of Britain’s new iconic passport is shipped overseas to France.

It wouldn’t happen in France because of national security and it shouldn’t happen in the UK. De La Rue is the UK’s leading security printer making banknotes as well as passports sustaining thousands of decent jobs in the UK.

Ministers need to reverse this decision and start supporting British business and UK workers through public procurement and an industrial strategy which is more than just soundbites.”

1 hour ago

A row is rumbling on this morning about where the new British passports will be made after it emerged the documents will be printed in France by Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto.
That prompted the boss of De La Rue, a British company that had hoped to win the £490m contract, to ask Theresa May and Amber Rudd to come and explain to his workers why they had missed out. 

Martin Sutherland said: “I think we have heard over the last few weeks and months ministers more than happy to come on the media and talk about the blue passports and the fact that the blue passport is an icon of British identity.

“Now this icon of British identity is going to be manufactured in France.”

He added: “I’m going to have to go and face those workers, look at them in the whites of the eyes and try and explain to them why the British government thinks it’s a sensible decision to buy French passports not British passports.”

“I would actually like to invite Theresa May or Amber Rudd to come to my factory and explain to my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon.”


1 hour ago

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage from Westminster.