UK issues new passports without EU on cover

LONDON: Britain has begun issuing passports with the words “European Union” removed from the front cover — despite Brexit being delayed and its political leaders deadlocked over how to extricate the country from the bloc.
The interior ministry said on Saturday that a longstanding decision to start introducing passports without reference to the EU had gone ahead from March 30, the day after the original date for Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed leaving the bloc after 46 years of membership amid stubborn opposition in parliament to the divorce deal she finalised with European leaders in November.
MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the agreement three times.
Ahead of an EU summit on Wednesday, she was forced to ask them for another extension, until June 30, to prevent Britain departing with no deal at the end of next week.
But with EU heads growing increasingly impatient at the political paralysis in Westminster, they could offer just a shorter postponement — or a longer period of up to a year.
The other 27 members must give unanimous backing to any extension.
May is trying to break the parliamentary gridlock by striking a compromise deal with the main Labour opposition.
Senior ministers have spent several days negotiating with its leaders, but there were signs on Friday that talks were stalling after Labour complained of no “real change or compromise”. — AFP