Nick Clegg has launched a strong attack on the government’s “go home” campaign against illegal immigrants, suggesting it was out of step with the “decent” centre-ground tradition in British politics.
In a phone-in on Radio 5 Live on Tuesday, the deputy prime minister said he did not condone people breaking immigration laws but that he objected to the tone of the campaign launched by the Home Office.
He also said it would be hard for his ministerial colleagues in the coalition to persuade him that the campaign should be extended.
Clegg, who returned to work on Monday after a break in Spain, was speaking only 24 hours after Downing Street indicated that David Cameron strongly supported the campaign and would be open to it being extended nationwide.
The campaign is running in six London boroughs featuring leaflets and posters with the message: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.” The leaflets are still in circulation, but the two advertising vans that drove around displaying large versions of the poster have been withdrawn.