Local MP and Home Office minister Norman Baker has claimed his first major victory in his new position as Minister of State at the Home Office after Theresa May, the Home Secretary, agreed to withdraw controversial ‘go home’ vans from service.
The hugely unsuccessful campaign was described by Lib Dems as “stupid” and “divisive”. Even Conservative MPs came out and stated that the scheme had made “people less willing to report if they were in the country illegally rather than more willing”. Furthermore, the statistics that the campaign was based on came into question when arrest figures displayed on the side of the vans were criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for being inaccurate.
“Liberal Democrats believe we should have a firm but fair immigration system that is tolerant to those who live, work and contribute here but intolerant of abuse. However, these vans crossed a line. They were divisive and, ultimately, counter-productive.
“The ‘go home’ poster vans were not cleared or agreed by Liberal Democrats in Government and we made clear we would not support any expansion of the scheme.”