Home Office under fire over immigration video

September 06, 2020

The Home Office has been criticised for producing a now deleted ‘Dad’s Army’ style video depicting migrants being deported and accusing “activist lawyers” of exploiting the situation. 

According to The Guardian, on Wednesday August 26 the animated video described the department’s efforts to deport people with no right to remain in the UK and attacked “activist lawyers” for frustrating the process, prompting a furious response from the legal profession and unions. 

Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College London complained to the Home Office arguing the video was not consistent with the Government Communications Service (GCS) “propriety guidance” stating that messages should “be objective and explanatory, not biased or polemical”, as well as “sensitive to tone and guard against perceived attacks on particular interests, organisations or individuals”. 

Portes told the Guardian: “One of the jobs of civil servants is to communicate government policy. But they’re not allowed to use polemical language like this or target a particular group. This was way over the line. The prompt reaction of the permanent secretary is very welcome. I hope comms teams across Whitehall take note.” 

The controversy follows a decision to make thousands of redundancies in the GCS, many of them NUJ members.

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