Local MP Katy Clark has questioned the UK Tory-Lib Dem Government over its ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ campaign.
The London-based Home Office used the controversial slogan on a number of posters attached to mobile advertising hoardings. The initiative was supposed to encourage immigrants to return to their country of origin, but the choice of language provoked strong criticism.
During last week’s Questions to Alistair Carmichael MP, the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, SNP MP Pete Wishart (Perth & North Perthshire) asked what discussions there had been with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the display of materials from the ‘Go home or face arrest’ campaign in the Glasgow UK Border Agency office.
Mr Carmicheal replied, “I recently met both my Right-Honourable Friend the Home Secretary and my Honourable Friend the Minister for Immigration to discuss a range of immigration matters, including the campaign to which the Honourable Gentleman refers. In a written statement last week my Honourable Friend the Minister for Immigration informed the House that the poster campaign has no future in Scotland.”
Pete Wishart then asked, “Was it not absolutely appalling that these disgusting and xenophobic materials graced a public office in Scotland, contrary to everything we have tried to achieve through good and positive community relations in Scotland? This is all about a race to the bottom with the UK Independence Party on immigration. We do not even do UKIP in Scotland. We do not even do Conservative. Can the Secretary of State reassure me that we will never see the likes of these posters again in Scotland?”
The Secretary of State for Scotland responded, “This is a serious issue, and I accept that these posters were not appropriate. It was made clear in the Immigration Minister’s statement last week that these posters will not be back. I am content with that position.”
North Ayrshire & Arran’s Katy Clark then asked the Minister, “Positive Action in Housing, which he will be aware works with asylum seekers in Scotland, has called the posters ‘shameful and deeply offensive’. Does he agree with that comment?”
Mr Carmichael replied, “I have made it clear that I consider the posters to be inappropriate. They were part of a trial, they have gone and they will not be back. I do not think anything else really matters.”
Speaking later, Katy Clark told the3towns, “I am pleased the Secretary of State has confirmed this shameful campaign is now at an end and will not be repeated. Quite frankly, this campaign, which echoed the language used by the far-right for decades, should never have been piloted. It is disappointing that these unacceptable posters were allowed to remain up for so long.”