Vince Cable becomes most senior minister to speak out against immigration campaign
Secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, Vince Cable, has spoken out against a new publicity campaign from the Home Office which seeks to encourage illegal immigrants to leave the country, branding it “stupid and offensive”.
In the interview, which was carried out on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the business secretary made his disdain regarding the campaign clear, expressing his views that it would have little effect on the individuals working in the country illegally and is actually likely to “create a sense of fear” regarding the scale of illegal immigration.
Mr Cable is currently the most senior member of the government to publicly disagree with the controversial campaign, which involves two billboards that are being driven around six London Boroughs carrying the message: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.” While the Home Office insists that these posters are simply a pilot, the hostile tone they convey has sparked debates and complaints.
Mr Cable explained in the interview that Liberal Democrat ministers had not been consulted on their opinions prior to the campaign and he had not expected it to be continued, stating: “It was stupid and offensive and I think it is very unlikely that it will continue.”
He added that what made the campaign most offensive of all was the fact that it was fuelling unjustified fears regarding immigration as there is by no means a huge problem with illegal immigration. Mr Cable argued: “We have a problem, but it’s not a vast one. And it has got to be dealt with in a measured way, dealing with the underlying causes.”
He continued to say: “Actually, it’s quite difficult being an illegal immigrant in Britain. You can’t work, certainly legally. You can’t have access to benefits. So the idea that there’s some vast hidden army of people is almost certainly wrong.”