Posted on October 21, 2013

‘Go Home’ Vans Could Be Introduced Across Britain, Says Immigration Minister

Matthew Holehouse, Telegraph (London), October 18, 2013

Controversial vans telling illegal migrants to leave country or face arrest could appear in more British cities, reveals Mark Harper.

‘Go Home’ vans could be introduced across Britain, the Immigration Minister has said.

The controversial vans, which carry posters telling illegal migrants to leave the country or face arrest, could appear in more British cities following a trial in London, Mark Harper said.

During July, they were driven around the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow for a week.

Labour accused ministers of “borrowing the language” used by the National Front in the 1970s.

The poster displayed a picture of handcuffs and read: “In the UK illegally?… GO HOME OR FACE ARREST.”

The Advertising Standards Agency has cleared the campaign of being offensive but ruled the statistics carried on the van were inaccurate.

Mr Harper said the vans would be rolled out to other areas if the pilot, which is now being evaluated, was deemed to be effective.

“I don’t see any problem with saying to people who have no right to be in the United Kingdom they can’t be here anymore,” he told BBC Question.

“If it’s successful we’ll look at rolling it out, if it’s not successful, we won’t,” he said.

The campaign caused tensions within the Coalition. Vince Cable, the business secretary, said it was “stupid and offensive”. Jeremy Browne, the home office minister who has since lost his job, said he would not allow them to come back.

Separately, a Home Office text message campaign accusing people of being illegal immigrants has received 140 complaints after some people were contacted in error.

Officials have sent messages to almost 40,000 people they suspect of not having a right to be in the UK, instructing them to contact border officials to discuss their immigration status.

Fourteen people had been incorrectly contacted, the Home Office said.

Ministers commissioned Capita, the outsourcing company, to trace people believed to have outstayed their visas.