Support for 'go home' immigration vans increases

August 13, 2013, 1:00 PM GMT+0

Support for “Go home, or face arrest” adverts has nudged up 8% since the end of July, and the number who think they are racist has dropped 6%

The Home Office has backed down in a legal battle over vans displaying the message “In the UK illegally? Go home, or face arrest,” agreeing that in future it will consult with local communities before attempting to advertise such messages. New research by YouGov finds that the majority now support the advertising campaign – more so than a few weeks ago – and two thirds say they are not racist.

55% of British adults now 'strongly' or 'tend to' support the scheme involving vans being driven through six London boroughs with adverts calling on illegal immigrants to leave the country voluntarily, compared to 47% at the end of July. 35% oppose and 11% don’t know.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has called the government’s use of the vans ‘nasty,’ however 86% of UKIP voters support the scheme – the most of any party. 74% of Conservatives are in favour of the adverts, while Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are opposed 51%-40% and 57%-40% respectively.

Complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority, currently investigating the scheme, said the phrase ‘go home’ was reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups to attack immigrants in the past. 66% of the public ‘tend to’ or ‘strongly’ disagree that the advertising is racist. Last month 31% agreed, however that figure is now down to 25%.

Ministers were threatened with court action by two clients of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London. Lawyers from the firm which represented them said that Theresa May’s targeting of Barking and Dagenham, areas “with historically fraught race relations and a high prevalence of BNP support", suggested that "no regard was had to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment based on race and religion or belief, or the need to foster good relations".

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