Great Britain

'What is Nigel talking about!' Lammy launches passionate defence of RNLI migrant rescues

Speaking on LBC on Saturday, Mr Lammy hit out following attacks on RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Instituion) staff as it emerged they have been saving migrants in distress as they attempt to cross the English Channel from France. He launched a ferocious takedown of Mr Farage for harmful comments which accused the RNLI of aiding "illegal immigration" before going on to suggest how ridiculous the comments would appear if used against emergency services such as the police and paramedics.

Mr Lammy said: “We don’t ask our paramedics to pick and choose who they pick up if you’ve just had a heart attack or a stroke.

“We don’t ask them to check ‘what’s your status, are you allowed to use the NHS’.

“Thank god we don’t live in that sort of society!”

“If you call the police because you need them, we don’t ask them to check before they come to your aid whether you have got a criminal record and you did something in the past."

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And in a furious outburst, Mr Lammy said: “What is Nigel Farage talking about!

“That we should know ask our volunteer mariners to check and see before we save people feeling, dying, in our waters!

“And you have got to ask - why this is happening in the UK at this time?”

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In a Tweet he claimed the RNLI in Kent had become a "taxi service" for "illegal immigration".

After watching the scenes he added "what a state of affairs".

Mark Dowie, chief executive of the RNLI, lashed back saying the lifeboats were doing the "right thing" by helping those crossing the Channel.

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He said: "The people of these islands (the UK) fundamentally are decent people, and all decent people will see this as humanitarian work of the highest order. Our crews should not have to put up with some of the abuse they received.

"Our volunteers get out of bed in the middle of the night, leave their employment, leave their families, and go out and do this because they believe in doing the right thing. Never doubt their commitment to that. If you look at social media, around almost any issue you will find very strong views one way or the other."

More than 9,000 people have crossed the Channel so far this year on board small boats often co-ordinated by human traffickers, despite the journey claiming many lives over the years.

This month alone, more than 3,300 have arrived in the UK in a new record for a single month, according to data, while a record 430 migrants cross the English Channel on Monday July 19.

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