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Rights group counters ‘Go home’ vans with own vehicles

COUNTER CAMPAIGN: A van with a poster from the human rights group Liberty drives around Westminster in London criticising the Home Office on it's latest policy to remove illegal immigrants (PA)

HUMAN RIGHTS group Liberty has deployed the same tactics as the Home Office’s immigration van campaign and used vehicles with advertisements criticising the department.

The group’s vans bear the slogan: “Stirring up tension and division in the UK illegally? Home Office, think again” – they too have been driven around London.

It is an ironic retort to the Home Office’s choice of wording on its vans that were driven through northern boroughs of the capital on a week-long trial.

The government-backed vehicles had a poster saying: “Go home, or face arrest”.

Despite widespread criticism, the Home Office defended the campaign and said its tactics to find illegal immigrants were working.

The department said the “Go home” vans were “another part of the reforms...that have seen net migration drop”.

'VILE': Home Office vans telling people to "Go home or face arrest" (PA)

However, cabinet ministers including Nick Clegg and Vince Cable were vocal in criticising the Home Office vans – Cable said they were “stupid and offensive”, while the deputy minister said they were being driven around “aimlessly”.

The Unite union also made a legal enquiry to determine whether the van were “inciting racial hatred”, and called the advertisements “vile”.

Liberty supported this claim in a statement, the group said the vans contained “racist connotations - mirroring National Front slogans from the 1970s”.

It added that the Home Office’s campaign was “deeply offensive and divisive and in breach of the Equality Act 2010 so therefore unlawful”.

New Labour peer Doreen Lawrence also accused immigration authorities of “racially profiling people of colour” when conducting checks to find illegal immigrants in public places.

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