Halifax MP hails ‘brave’ RNLI for saving migrants in sea

RNLI crews are “putting their lives on the line” to rescue people in distress at sea trying to cross to the UK from France, a shadow minister has said, after the service faced criticism for rescuing migrants in the Channel.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 11:43 am
Updated Friday, 30th July 2021, 2:30 pm

The charity’s boss, Mark Dowie, has said the charity is “doing the right thing” by going to people’s aid, regardless of their reason for being in the water.

MPs from across Yorkshire have condemned the attacks targeted towards the lifeboat service.

Halifax MP and shadow home office minister Holly Lynch said “the fact (the RNLI) are having to do the job in the first place is a failure of Government policy.”

Halifax MP and shadow home office minister Holly Lynch.

She called the teams “incredibly brave volunteers” who have “found themselves being criticised at work removing people from dangerous situations.”

She added: “These are just brilliant people. Putting their lives on the line to rescue people in distress at sea.”

The RNLI tweeted on Thursday afternoon “to say a huge and heartfelt thank you (...) for the outpouring of support” in recent days. We’ve seen a surge in donations over the past 24 hours – both in terms of one-off gifts and hundreds of you who’ve set up a monthly donation. We’re overwhelmed by and incredibly grateful for your kindness.” it added.

A “small number” of others, contacted the RNLI to withdraw financial support, it added.

Donations rose to £200,000 in the 24 hours to Thursday afternoon, according to figures given to the PA news agency, up from the £7,000 seen on a usual day.

Speaking to LBC Radio on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The RNLI do an incredible job, they have got this great heart and soul to them and they do an amazing job.”

He added: We are a big-hearted country. At the same time, if we are talking about the wider small boats issue, that is something where, absolutely at the same time, we need to come down as hard as is humanely possible, working with our French partners.”

Since April, more than 7,000 people have crossed to the UK from northern France in small boats, according to PA, with one teenager saying “I will try until I die” to make the crossing.

Around 2,000 migrants are reportedly living in northern France, many sleeping rough around Calais and Dunkirk, as they wait to cross the English Channel on board small boats or smuggled in lorries.

Record numbers of people have risked their lives to reach Britain in overcrowded and unseaworthy dinghies in 2021.

The crossings have continued despite various attempts by the Home Office to stop them and make the route “unviable”.

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