Harriet Harman's son part of 'mischief' Paddy Power team that sparked fury over controversial immigration poster

Betting firm accused of 'distasteful' publicity stunt after driving lorry around Dover inviting immigrants to 'jump in the back'

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The son of the acting Labour leader Harriet Harman was part of the team behind Paddy Power’s controversial publicity stunt about immigration.

Harry Dromey works on the advertisement team at the betting firm who deployed a lorry to drive below the white cliffs of Dover with a poster inviting immigrants to “jump in the back” but only if they were “good at sport” in an attempt to use the Calais migrant crisis to promote themselves.

Paddy Power 4.jpg
Paddy Power's latest publicity stunt invites immigrants to 'jump in the back' of their van but only if they're 'good at sport'

The slogan was accompanied by the faces of some of Britain’s top sports stars who were born outside the UK, as well as Andy Murray who the firm mocked as “sometimes Brit, sometimes Scot”.

The stunt drew an angry reaction from politicians and on social media over the “distasteful” move, which came at a time when thousands of homeless migrants are currently trying to take advantage of traffic delays in Calais to board passing lorries that are heading to the UK. 

Paddy Power said Mr Dromey was not part of the team that created the immigration poster, but he has been billed as the firm’s “Mischief Champion” in the past, with a conference he spoke at last year describing his job as creating “mischievous, eye-catching stunts and campaigns to communicate what the brand is all about”. The firm confirmed he was still part of the team, which it has branded the “Department of Mischief”.

Labour's acting leader Harriet Harman, whose son works for Paddy Power's 'mischief team'

It is not the first time Ms Harman has been embarrassed by her son’s line of work. Last year Mr Dromey was behind another of Paddy Power’s edgy PR stunts that offered odds on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial.

An advert for the firm read: “It’s Oscar Time. Money Back If He Walks. We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty.”

It was particularly awkward for Ms Harman when her front bench colleague Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, attacked the move, describing it as “sick and shameful”.

The lorry that drove around Dover yesterday was plastered with a slogan that read: "Immigrants, jump in the back! (But only if you’re good at sport),” along with the faces of footballer Raheem Sterling, long-distance runner Mo Farah, rugby star Manu Tuilagi and England's cricket captain Eoin Morgan, who were all born overseas. Scot-born Andy Murray was at the centre of the poster, which a

Andy Murray, the 'sometimes Brit, sometimes Scot' as Paddy Power describes him

Paddy Power press officer said was part of an attempt to make fun of arguments about his nationality.

A Paddy Power press officer insisted it was not trying to make a political point with the immigration poster but simply trying to have some fun with Britain's sports stars, who attract the millions of pounds worth of bets that benefit the betting industry.

A spokesman said: “We’re not commenting on the migration crisis. What we’re doing is making a joke about Britain’s leading sports stars, in particular Andy Murray. That’s where it ends for us. We’re not wading into discussions about what’s going on. This is predominantly about Andy Murray’s nationality.”

Harriet Harman’s office has not responded to requests for comment.