Boris Johnson’s government has ordered a fresh batch of commemorative Brexit 50p coins, months after a Brexit delay forced the Royal Mint to melt down some 1 million of the celebratory coins.
It will be the third attempt to mint the coins, with consecutive failures to pass an EU withdrawal bill through the Commons in March and October putting paid to the potentially costly plans.
But a resounding electoral victory on 12 December handed the Conservatives a mandate to “get Brexit done”, and with MPs voting heavily in favour of the prime minister’s revised deal on Friday, the next phase of Britain’s departure from the EU looks set to begin on 31 January.
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After a meeting of the privy council this week, the Queen issued a proclamation that new “gold, silver and cupro-nickel coins” worth 50 pence will be minted with the updated departure date.
They will also feature the slogan: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations.”
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The idea for a Brexit 50p was originally coined by Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who was involved in the early days of the Anti-Federalist League – an early incarnation of Ukip, which he briefly led in 1997.
It was then picked up by housing secretary Robert Jenrick during his tenure at the Treasury, and initially approved by former chancellor Philip Hammond, who ordered 10,000 coins be minted to mark the 29 March date.
Despite this failure, at the next attempt in October the new chancellor Sajid Javid ordered an initial 1 million coins to be followed by a further 7 million over the course of a year.
The Telegraph reports that 3 million coins are expected to be in circulation by February, with that figure rising to 10 million by January 2021.
The government has refused to reveal the cost of October’s failed venture, claiming the information was “commercially sensitive” in response to a written request by former EU ambassador Lord Hannay of Chiswick, according to the New European.
However, the Royal Mint has funded the coins’ creation from its own revenues, rather than at the taxpayer’s expense.
Additional reporting by PA