Ads urging Redbridge illegal immigrants to ‘go home’ criticised by council party leaders

The van being used as part of the Home Office project

The van being used as part of the Home Office project - Credit: Archant

A van encouraging illegal immigrants to return to their native countries has been strongly criticised by all three party leaders on Redbridge Council.

The Home Office project, which ended on Sunday after a pilot, saw vans with the words “go home or face arrest” roll through six boroughs including Redbridge.

Last week Rita Chadha, cheif executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London, in High Road, Ilford, said she was “disgusted” by the Home Office’s project, adding it was “just a stunt”.

Adding their voices to the growing opposition against the project, Conservative leader Cllr Keith Prince, Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Ian Bond and Labour leader Cllr Jas Athwal, issued a joint statement.

It reads: “We were neither informed nor consulted about this Home Office initiative.

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“We have no information from the Home Office about why they have chosen Redbridge to carry out such an unusual scheme, or what the purpose is.

“It is clearly most unfortunate that the Home Office should take actions which were bound to be controversial, about highly sensitive matters, without very careful discussion with the affected communities.”

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It adds: “If we had been consulted, we would have warned strongly that, whatever effect this campaign might be intended to have on people who are in the country unlawfully, that message is far outweighed by the negative message to the great majority of people, from all backgrounds, who live and work together in Redbridge, peacefully, productively and lawfully.

“We ask the Home Office to withdraw the campaign.”

The van was spotted last week driving past Seven Kings station, High Road, Seven Kings.

• Have you seen the vans? What do you think of them? Contact the newsdesk by emailing, call us on 020 8477 3800, or tweet us @IlfordRecorder.

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