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Advertising Standards Authority bans Home Office immigration adverts displayed in Barnet
The advertising watchdog has banned a controversial Home Office advert telling illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest”.
The adverts appeared in leaflets, posters and on vans driven around several north London boroughs, including Barnet, as part of a trial by the government department.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 224 complaints about the material from groups representing migrants in the UK, as well as legal academics and Labour peer Lord Lipsey.
Today the watchdog published the findings of its investigation, in which it upheld two of five complaints lodged by opponents.
Critics, including several senior Liberal Democrat politicians, claimed the posters were offensive and could incite racial hatred and create tensions in multicultural communities.
Others claimed the phrase “106 arrests in your area last week” was misleading, and that qualification of the messages was written in text that was too small to read.
The ASA upheld both of those complaints but did not uphold claims the phrase “go home” was offensive or distressing.
Investigators also failed to conclude the posters was irresponsible or harmful, or that they were misleading because they implied arrest was the automatic consequence of remaining in the UK without permission.
The ASA ruled the adverts must not appear in their current form again.
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