Home Office Immigration 'Racist Van' Under Investigation By Advertising Watchdog

Advertising Watchdog Launch Investigation Into Home Office 'Racist Van'
Matthew Butcher

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched a probe into the Home Office's illegal immigration van campaign after it received complaints.

Last month the Home Office caused outrage after it drove a van around London with a large billboard telling illegal immigrants to "go home or face arrest".

On Friday the ASA announced there had been 60 complaints about the government campaign.

Dubbed the 'racist van' for its uncompromising message, the campaign sparked a huge backlash, with criticism coming from senior Liberal Democrats, as well as Nigel Farage.

According to the ASA complainants have expressed concerns that the ad, in particular the phrase “go home”, is offensive and irresponsible because it is reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups to attack immigrants in the past and could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multicultural communities.

Separately, some complainants have challenged whether the claim "106 arrests last week in your area" is misleading.

Complainants have also challenged whether it is misleading because it implies arrest is the automatic consequence of remaining in the UK without permission.

Chris Bryant MP, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, said: "This is another embarrassing blow to a Government which continues to fail to deal with immigration.

"With more people absconding at the border and fewer illegal immigrants being returned, David Cameron and Theresa May can't even get the basics right, stumbling from one shambles to another.

"You've got to question the Government's competence. We need effective action on immigration not offensive stunts."

The ASA's probe is in addition to another investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into a wave of immigration checks across the country.

The EHRC launched the probe after it was claimed that the spot checks - conducted at transport hubs up and down the country - were being carried out by border officials purely on the basis of ethnicity.


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