Watchdog probing 'go home' ad vans
The Home Office is facing further woe over its immigration policies after the advertising watchdog launched a fresh investigation into its controversial "Go Home" ad vans.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had received 60 complaints about the mobile billboards, including concerns the ads were "reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups to attack immigrants in the past".
The ASA probe is in addition to another investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into a wave of immigration spot checks across the country.
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."
Ads warning overstaying migrants to ''Go home, or you'll be picked up and deported" appeared last month in six London boroughs. Migrants' rights groups, Labour politicians and unions reacted to the campaign with anger and disgust.
The ASA said some complainants have also questioned whether a claim in the advert reading "106 arrests last week in your area" was misleading.
An ASA spokesman said: "I can confirm that the Advertising Standards Authority has launched a formal investigation into the Home Office 'Go Home' ad campaign following 60 complaints.
"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. They've also challenged whether it is misleading because it implies arrest is the automatic consequence of remaining in the UK without permission. We will publish our findings in due course."