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Churchill on UK fiver fuels Brexit debate

The Bank of England has unveiled its first plastic banknote. The polymer five-pound bill is to be circulated as of September and will feature WWII leader Winston Churchill. Brexiteers welcomed the news.

BoE officials said Thursday the unveiling of the Churchill fiver formed part of the central bank's switch to polymer banknotes to end 320 years of paper money.

"The Guardian" reported the bills were seen as cleaner, more durable and more secure than paper, with the plastic material allowing the inclusion of more sophisticated features to protect against counterfeits.

The Churchill banknote will replace the current five-pound bill showing prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

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"By adopting polymer, we're aligning with international best practice, alongside Australia, New Zealand and Canada," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in a statement.

"As Churchill did, we may have to wait a while for the Americans to join up," Carney added jokingly, alluding to the United States entering the Second World War against Hitler's Germany in 1941, more than two years after Britain.

British activists in favor of the UK leaving the European Union after a June 23 referendum in the country insisted the wartime prime minister saw Britain as friendly towards a developing union in Europe, but separate to it.

"It's wonderful that Churchill is on the fiver; it'll remind people to put the country's interests first on June 23," Kings College London professor Andrew Roberts told reporters.

hg/mkr (Reuters, Guardian)

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