Nigel Farage has defended comments suggesting that the RNLI has been operating as a taxi service for illegal immigrants.
Speaking on his GB News segment the former UKIPer said the Royal Navy should be stepping in to return migrant boats to French ports, reiterating his belief that it is not the charity’s responsibility to save their lives.
Earlier this month Farage posted a photo on Twitter of the Ramsgate RNLI lifeboat full of refugees and/or migrants.
He said: “Sadly the wonderful RNLI in Kent has become a taxi service for illegal immigration, to the dismay of all involved. What a state of affairs”.
The story was covered by newspapers including the Daily Mail.
The last sentence of this video is Farage saying he’s happy to fight with the @RNLI— Dr Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) July 28, 2021
That’s all the reason you need to donate to the RNLI. Regardless of all else, RNLI are battling to save lives. Farage is battling to save his reputation, according to what he says here. https://t.co/AD8JwEd0eA
But in a statement the RNLI insisted it was its mission to “save lives at sea . . . without judgment of how they came to be in the water”.
The charity group, which said it received a huge volume of comments on social media after the Mail published the article on July 2, added: “We want to be absolutely clear that we are incredibly proud of the humanitarian work our volunteer lifeboat crews do to rescue vulnerable people in distress.”
There has been an outpouring of support on the back of the fracas, with several people saying they have donated to the charity in recognition of the wonderful work they do.
Here’s what people had to say:
Thank you Nigel Farage & Daily Mail for criticising the incredible work the @RNLI does to rescue migrants. Due to you highlighting their endeavours I’m now donating every month @DewsnapClaire #RNLI https://t.co/9MryJIsqIS— Laura Waters (@drlaurajwaters) July 29, 2021
Donated before. Donated again just now, specifically because of this. Suspect I’m not alone.— SionedGC (@Stiniog34) July 28, 2021
Thank you – we’ve just started a monthly contribution and I hope others will too. It’s easyhttps://t.co/yCASQsbk1N— Martin McKee (@martinmckee) July 28, 2021
Thank you for sharing, I have donated. All support to the @RNLI in the face of such a sickening attack on their vital work— RachelSBritton (@RachelSBritton) July 28, 2021
Just donated to the RNLI— Sim Crowther ??????????❄️??️ (@CrowtherSim) July 28, 2021