THE Royal National Lifeboat Institution has seen donations soar after controversial comments by Nigel Farage.

The former UKIP leader said the charity was being used as a "taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs" who were "pushing migrants across into the English channel". He added that he is a supporter of the RNLI

Farage's remarks were criticised online, with many saying it prompted them to donate to the RNLI.

Dr Julia Grace Patterson said: "I support the @RNLI rescuing migrants. If you agree, RT. I’m sick of seeing Nigel Farage and others gaslighting them."

Another user wrote: "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”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon slams critics of RNLI after 'migrant taxi service' accusation

Labour MP Angela Raynor said: "I'd like to see Nigel Farage putting his life at risk to save others rather than being a rent-a-gob on TV but I won't hold my breath."

Alison Levett, the RNLI's media manager, said: "I suppose we should take it as a compliment that Nigel Farage thinks we've employed a PR firm to tell the story of our work in the Channel. But no, that's my talented, dedicated @RNLI comms team working flat out to defend our crews and our charity. I couldn't be prouder."

Labour MP Zarah Sultana added: "This is where the hate whipped-up by the likes of Nigel Farage, Priti Patel & the right-wing press has led us: @RNLI – a charity that saves men, women & children from death at sea – is being forced to justify their heroic work. Shame on the bigots whose hate diminishes us all."

LBC presenter James O'Brien said: "Not for the first time, I wonder how hard it would be to completely ignore Nigel Farage. Easier said than done, I know, but his profile & 'relevance' have depended on people who find him disgusting for a while now."

It comes after the RNLI said some of its crews had been heckled for bringing migrants to safety off the UK’s coast.

Mark Dowie, RNLI chief executive, said the sea charity was “doing the right thing” by going to people’s aid, regardless of their reason for being in the water.

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.”

Nicola Sturgeon replied: “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.”

More than 9000 people have crossed the Channel so far this year on board small boats despite the Home Office vowing to make the route “unviable”.