The British government is fighting to keep secret a blacklist of 44 countries with the worst immigration record whose nationals are targeted for tougher discriminatory action when applying to come to Britain.
The Foreign Office has warned that some of the countries will be highly offended and regard their “naming and shaming” on a “rogues’ gallery” list as a personal slight, and are likely to retaliate damaging Britain’s diplomatic relations.
They claim that retaliatory action could include restricting visas for British travellers, including officials, that could “hinder our ability to function effectively overseas, damage business and reduce the projection of UK ‘soft power’.”
The Home Office has launched a two-day appeal hearing starting on Thursday against a ruling by the information commissioner for a partial disclosure of the list. After a secret country-by-country assessment by the FCO, he said that publication would not damage relations in every case.