Govt considers reviving banned 'go home' immigration van ad

Conservative ministers may revive the Home Office's controversial "go home or face arrest" ad-van campaign even though the Advertising Standards Authority ruled against it.

Ban: campaign calling on illegal immigrants to leave the UK was outlawed for being misleading
Ban: campaign calling on illegal immigrants to leave the UK was outlawed for being misleading

The surprise Tory move would provoke a major row inside the Coalition. The Liberal Democrats are threatening to veto a second push to encourage illegal immigrants to return to their home countries, warning that this summer’s drive harmed race relations.

A source close to Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister, said: "We weren’t asked about these posters and we didn’t like them. So we do not want to see them rerun."

However, Mark Harper, the Tory Immigration Minister, told MPs the ASA "did not uphold any of the complaints about the vans or the allegations that the vans were offensive or racist".

He conceded that the ASA had found that the number of arrests mentioned in the ad was misleading since it referred to a wider area of London than it implied.  "We have therefore agreed not to use those advertisements in the form that was used," he said.

But he made clear a decision on whether to rerun the campaign would depend on a "full evaluation" of the pilot scheme. That would be done after three months because of the time it takes to issue travel documents, he said.

Harper said one "voluntary departure" had already taken place – of a man who did not see the ad van but saw a picture of it in The Guardian. The cost of arresting, detaining and removing someone would normally be £15,000 – more than the £10,000 cost of the pilot, he said.

The minister pointed to opinion polls showing that 79 per cent of people supported the message in the poster and 66 per cent did not consider it to be racist.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.

SUBSCRIBE

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now
Omnicom shuts M2M in UK after account losses
Share

1 Omnicom shuts M2M in UK after account losses

Omnicom has shut its media agency M2M in the UK following a string of account losses and Alistair MacCullum, the chief executive of M2M, is stepping down.

Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats
Shares0
Share

1 Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats

Forging an emotional tie with consumers is one of the strongest ways to protect your brand. Products can be copycatted, but the distinctive identity of a true brand can never be replicated argues Nir Wegrzyn, CEO of BrandOpus.

Just published