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The *blogging* lawyer

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So, the other day someone brought to my attention some internal Home Office emails about a Free Movement article. These were disclosed under a Freedom of Information request made by one Clarke Simpson, answered at the Home Office by one P. Zebedee (really?). The episode started off as a bizarre one and is now downright weird.

One day, browsing the Home Office website, as one does, I became irritated by what I thought was a rather inappropriate choice of image. You can see my screenshot below.

children

It was a picture of three smiling children but used to illustrate a story that has caused huge heartache to countless children and families: the Home Office appeal against the MM judgment, an appeal now allowed by the Court of Appeal. As an aside, the image choice for the news item about the appeal outcome was in some ways even worse, as you can see below from another screenshot. Who chooses these pictures?

Home_Office_wins_judgment_on_minimum_income_threshold_-_News_stories_-_GOV_UK

Anyway, I tweeted out the original picture of the three children, and it turned out that one of the children was the daughter of one of my Twitter followers. She was horrified. On further investigation the image was copyrighted and the Home Office had tried to remove the child in question from the UK.

The story hit Buzzfeed and an apology was issued. You can see the unfolding Tweets here if interested.

The emails at the Home Office make quite amusing reading, especially the reference to “the blogging lawyer” (might I be described in Home Office circles as “the something else-ing lawyer” or am I flattering myself?), the “fingers crossed nobody spots this” passage and the bit where they make up a reason to explain why they removed the entire article rather than just the image. It does read as a very polite and expletive free version of a Malcolm Tucker exchange.

Brightened up my day when I read it, anyway.

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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