OUTRAGE GENERATOR: A "go home" van from the Home Office (PA)
CONTROVERSIAL HOME Office vans bearing an immigration slogan “go home or face arrest” will not be backed again by the Liberal Democrats, according to a party minister at the department.
Home Office minister Jeremy Browne told the audience at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow: “We didn't agree those vans... and we won't be agreeing any proposals to bring them back.”
The week-long pilot scheme that saw the vehicles driven through parts of north London generated outrage among community figures and national politicians.
Deputy prime minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg at the time questioned the point of the vans “driving aimlessly” through the capital’s streets, while business secretary Vince Cable called them “stupid and offensive”.
Speaking at the conference, Clegg said he had been surprised by the Home Office campaign and claimed Browne had not sanctioned its go-ahead.
Last month the Home Office refused to apologise for the “go home” vans but acknowledged the divisive nature of the response to the pilot scheme.
It added that further consultation would take place before the vans were used again.
The campaign resulted in rights groups and unions legally questioning its validity and whether it was inciting racial hatred, while the Advertising Standards Agency launched an inquiry after receiving a number of complaints about the vans and posters.