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?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scored twice to add to the hat-trick he registered in the first leg in Switzerland
football
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
News
people
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: Supply Chain Assistant

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Advisor

£13000 - £13500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Energy Broker & Sales Consultant - OTE £65,000

£18000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Long-established Energy Brokers...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower