Press Advisory: Stirring up tension and division in the UK illegally? Home Office, think again

06 August 2013

Liberty’s response to the Home Office’s “Go home” vans will hit the streets of London as the row over the department’s immigration policies intensifies.

The Home Office recently dispatched anti-immigrant vans to several of London’s multi-ethnic boroughs – featuring the slogan “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest”. The messaging has racist connotations – mirroring National Front slogans from the 1970s. The department has also been criticised for carrying out what appear to be spot-check immigration fishing expeditions in ethnically-diverse areas of the country.

On Tuesday a van carrying Liberty’s response will take to London’s streets with the alternative slogan “Stirring up tension and division in the UK illegally? Home Office, think again”. Liberty’s van will circle the Home Office, Westminster and the surrounding area in the morning, before visiting Kensal Green and Walthamstow – two of the London boroughs targeted during the spot-checks – in the afternoon.

Liberty believes the department’s decision to dispatch “Go Home” Billboards is deeply offensive and divisive and in breach of the Equality Act 2010 so therefore unlawful. Liberty also believes that the Home Office does not have legal authority for the type of speculative immigration spot-checks it is carrying out. The billboard will therefore urge anyone stopped during the recent immigration street operations to get in touch with Liberty at:


Please contact the Liberty Press Office for more information, or to arrange media interviews

WHAT: Liberty’s mobile billboard response to the Home Office’s “Go home” vans

WHO: Liberty spokesperson Rachel Robinson (Policy Officer) and a Liberty staff photographer will be on board

WHEN: 8.30am – 4.30pm approx, Tuesday 6th August 2013

WHERE: The Home Office and Westminster, including Marsham Street, Horseferry Road, Abingdon Street and Broad Sanctuary (8.30am – 12pm approx); Kensal Green (1pm – 2.30pm approx) and Walthamstow (3pm – 4.30pm approx)


Contact: Liberty Press Office on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831128


1. To find out more about Liberty’s position on the Home Office’s recent immigration policies, read “"Go home" vans: Nasty, racist and likely unlawful” and “Home Office spot-checks: We want to hear from you” on the Liberty News Blog.

2. Liberty wrote to UKBA in 2012 raising concerns about its spot-check operations. At this time London street operations had already been suspended and, following our intervention, street operations were then suspended nationwide, pending a review.

3. The UKBA rely on paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971, as interpreted by the High Court in the 1986 case Singh v Hammond [1987] 1 All ER 829, as entitling them to question people away from ports of entry about their immigration status. Liberty does not believe that the legislation gives authority for the type of fishing operations being undertaken.