Controversial Government advert telling illegal immigrants to 'go home' or face arrest is reported to advertising regulators

Labour peer Lord Lipsy said claim on advert that 106 arrests are made a week was 'grossly mis-leading'

Controversial Government adverts urging illegal immigrants to “go home” have been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The adverts, displayed on billboards transported by vans across six London boroughs, instructs migrants with expired visas to: “Go home or face arrest”.

Lord Lipsey, a former member of the ASA's council, objected to a claim in the adverts that there had been “106 arrests last week in your area”, arguing that such a statement was “grossly misleading”.

The Labour peer, who chairs the parliamentary all-party group on statistics, said he was concerned that the adverts' claim on numbers of arrests could not be sustained.

The large-print statistic “106 arrests last week in your area” was followed by an asterisk referring readers to a footnote indicating the week and the boroughs involved, in print too small to be read when the trailer is in motion.

But Lord Lipsey said that anyone who did manage to read the footnote would find that the “huge” area referred to stretched from Hounslow in the west to Dagenham in the east, and crucially included Heathrow Airport.

The scheme was also criticised yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who said it was not a “clever” way to tackle with the issue of illegal immigration, and stressed that no Liberal Democrat ministers had been consulted before it was implemented.

It was likely that many of the detentions were of newly-arrived would-be immigrants at the airport, said Lord Lipsey, who told the ASA: “I believe the figures may well have been distorted by this inclusion, which would make the figures quoted misleading in breach of the codes.”

Lord Lipsey said the small print made clear the claim that the arrests took place “last week” was misleading, as the figures relate to a period more than a fortnight before the ads were displayed

And he added: “I do not believe that any inhabitant of Barking and Dagenham would believe their area to include Hounslow. Again, the Government is deliberately misleading the public by aggregating figures over an area which no one would describe as theirs.

“If the Government is to mount a campaign of this nature, it is incumbent on it to ensure that it does not exaggerate or lie, in breach of the advertising code of practice. On the face of things, this advert falls far short of the standards insisted on by the ASA. I have accordingly asked it to rule urgently on its acceptability.”

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “We are making it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally. Every single day our enforcement officers are arresting, detaining and removing people with no right to be in the UK.

“But there is an alternative to being led away in handcuffs. Help and advice can be provided to those who cooperate and return home voluntarily.

“This pilot is just another part of the reforms of the immigration system that have cut out abuse and seen net migration drop to its lowest levels in nearly a decade. The Immigration Bill being introduced later this year will build on this work by restricting illegal migrants' access to benefits and services.”

The Home Office said that if the pilot proved successful, it could be rolled out across the country.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Turner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral