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by Louise Wilson
29 July 2021
Donations to RNLI soar after Nigel Farage ‘migrant taxi service’ claim

RNLI

Donations to RNLI soar after Nigel Farage ‘migrant taxi service’ claim

The RNLI has received over £200,000 in donations in 24 hours after being branded a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs” by former UKIP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

The charity received an outpouring of support from politicians and the public for its work helping migrants while attempting to cross the Channel.

RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie said “could not be prouder” of crews going out to rescue those in distress.

And Nicola Sturgeon hit out at those seeking to question the work the charity does.

The First Minister said: “Beyond depressing that saving human life is work that an organisation is forced to ‘defend’. Migrants are human beings whose lives matter. Thank you, RNLI, for all that you do.”

Speaking on GB News, Farage claimed the RNLI had “effectively become an arm of border force” after “trafficking gangs” had put migrants on unsuitable boats to cross the Channel into the UK.

The charity released a video detailing their work rescuing migrants in response, which has since been shared more than 35,000 times.

It also confirmed it had seen a surge of donations in the last 24 hours.

Dowie said: “When our lifeboats launch, we operate under International Maritime Law, which states we are permitted and indeed obligated to enter all waters regardless of territories for search and rescue purposes.

“And when it comes to rescuing those people attempting to cross the Channel, we do not question why they got into trouble, who they are or where they come from. All we need to know is that they need our help.”

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael praised the service.

He said: “It is a pretty basic principle that no one should ever be criticised for saving lives, wherever they are and whoever they are saving. It is not a matter of public policy.

“To politicise the work of the RNLI, as some have sought to do, is downright dangerous.”

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