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‘Go home’ vans: David Lammy pens open letter to Theresa May

'GO HOME' HOME SECRETARY: David Lammy, left, has written an open letter to Theresa May about the Home Office immigration campaign

TOTTENHAM MP David Lammy has condemned the Home Office campaign of “Go home” vans as a threat to “the cohesion and integrity of our society as a whole”.

Writing in an open letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, the Labour politician said: “These vans clearly target boroughs with high ethnic minority populations and appeal to individual immigrants in their questioning, they can only be interpreted not just as being anti-immigration, but anti-immigrant.

“The sight of these vans driving around London will only succeed in creating division in a city famed for its diversity.

“The aggressive nature of this ill-thought campaign will only lead to further barriers between local people and the authorities.”

The vans along with the Home Office’s tactics of stopping people in public places to check if they are illegal immigrants has generated widespread criticism.

The Unite union sought legal advice to determine whether the vans, telling people to “Go home or face arrest”, were “inciting racial hatred”, with its general secretary Len McCluskey calling the vans “vile”.

Human rights group Liberty also questioned the legitimacy of the Home Office vans, and earlier this week drove its own vans through Westminster telling the government to “think again” about heightening community “tensions”.

"VILE" VAN CAMPAIGN: The Home Office slogan has been described as "offensive and stupid"

Lammy’s letter to May follows today’s announcement that that the Advertising Standards Agency has launched an investigation into the Home Office campaign after receiving 60 complaints.

The ad watchdog said complainants likened the department’s slogan to fascist anti-immigration propaganda of previous decades.

Representing a diverse north London borough, Lammy also told May: “I am extremely concerned that this sort of divisive campaigning will have a detrimental impact not just on race relations, but on the cohesion and integrity of our society as a whole.”

He added that he would like a response from the Home Secretary detailing the results of the pilot van campaign and its total cost, asking her to provide “details the number of people that texted the number listed on the “Go Home” vans and the number of these that have been confirmed as illegal immigrants.”

Lib Dem politicians Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have also voiced criticism of the vans and their message – Cable called them “stupid and offensive”, while the Deputy Prime Minister questioned the point of them “driving aimlessly” around London.

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