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‘Go home’ vans: Home Office queried of ‘race hatred’

'HATE VANS': Unite's leader Len McCluskey has blasted the campaign (PA)

VANS DRIVEN around London telling illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” could result in the Home Office being accused of “inciting racial hatred” after the Unite union sought legal advice.

The van campaign initiated by the Home Office as a pilot scheme, to see if it could save money in forcible deportation costs, has been vehemently defended by the government department.

Others have been vocal in criticising the campaign – Business Secretary Vince Cable called it “stupid and offensive”, while Unite leader Len McCluskey labelled the vehicles “vans of hate”.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also questioned the pilot scheme’s effectiveness.

He told BBC Radio 5 live that he was “very surprised” to see the vans “driving aimlessly around north London”, and added that it was not a “very clever way” to curb illegal entry into the country.

In addition, Doreen Lawrence weighed into the debate when she appeared on ITV show Daybreak.

The newly appointed Labour peer said police and immigration officers were using “racial profiling” tactics to check if people had valid UK documents.

In reaction to news that about 140 people had been arrested in connection to illegally coming to Britain, she said operations are racially charged.

Mrs Lawrence told the show: “Why would you focus mainly on people of colour?

“I'm sure there's illegal immigrants from all countries, but why would you focus that on people of colour, and I think racial profiling is coming into it.”

The Home Office remained defiant about the week-long scheme that had the vans driving through north London boroughs.

A spokesman said: “We make no apology for enforcing our immigration laws and our officers carry out hundreds of operations like this every year around London.

“Where we find people who are in the UK illegally, we will seek to remove them.”

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