Vince Cable has attacked Tory colleagues for launching a "stupid and offensive" advertising campaign targeting illegal immigrants.
The Business Secretary said Immigration Minister Mark Harper's decision to send vans bearing the message "go home, or you'll be picked up and deported" round London was designed to create fear among the public.
Mr Cable told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show the Liberal Democrats had not been consulted about the van campaign. "It was stupid and offensive. I think it is very unlikely it will continue."
He questioned whether illegal immigrants would have enough of a "sophisticated grasp of English" to be able to read the posters on the vans at a distance.
Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron told ITV News it was "daft" to suggest that companies have a "social duty" to employ young British workers rather than better-qualified immigrants.
Earlier Conservative Business Minister Matthew Hancock said firms have a responsibility to ensure young people in the communities where they are based are given the opportunity to get a job and get on in life.
Mr Farron added: "If the Tories really believe that they wouldn't have employed the Australian Lynton Crosby to run their election campaign."
I suspect that the thousand raids by detectives in the capital over the last three months may prove to have had more impact in the long run, but nevertheless these posters are causing a lot of political heat and controversy.
The Liberal Democrats are extremely unhappy saying that they are disproportionate and distasteful with the Lib Dem President Tim Farron arguing that they should be “shredded”.
There’s also criticism from perhaps a more surprising quarter – that is from UKIP’s leader.
Nigel Farage has said that the posters smack of “nasty, big brother” type government and that they send a message which is likely to deter and discourage settled immigrants here from feeling that they are actually welcome.
It comes to something when UKIP is calling the Tory party “nasty” for its policies on illegal immigrants, but I don’t think the government is going to take much notice of that criticism.
A Business minister who is very close to the Chancellor,Matthew Hancock, has said today that he believes that British firms have a duty to hire British workers first ahead of foreign workers.
He says that essentially it’s a lazy policy to just take foreign workers who are already trained, believing that British businesses should be doing more to help train youngsters here.
I think the Government is very much firmly banging the drum on immigration believing it will resonate with voters.