THE Tory Culture Secretary is standing by claims that GB News is a “welcome addition” to the UK’s media – despite the channel being widely condemned for broadcasting Nigel Farage’s attacks on the RNLI.

Oliver Dowden, in a blog post published on the Government’s website on June 20, backed Andrew Neil’s freshly launched channel as campaign groups urged advertisers to cut ties with the right-wing broadcaster.

He wrote: ”A free media is one that has a diverse range of opinions and voices – and … GB News is a welcome addition to that diversity.

“We need outlets and commentators who cover the range of the political spectrum; who can speak truth to power; and who are willing to challenge dogma or orthodoxy.”

Those comments have come under renewed scrutiny since Farage’s outbursts against rescue volunteers.

The former Ukip leader – who was recently installed as a presenter on the channel after an internal feud about a host taking the knee – was roundly lambasted for comparing the RNLI to a "taxi service for migrants".

The National: Reform UK is led by Nigel Farage

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

The National contacted the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ask whether Dowden would reconsider his stance in light of the backlash.

The Culture Secretary refused to retract his comments.

The RNLI was forced to justify its life-saving work after it came under attack from Farage and other members of the far right.

Chief executive Mark Dowie said he felt compelled to comment after volunteers reported being heckled for bringing migrants to safety.

A London RNLI crew hit out on social media last week after volunteers were verbally assaulted. Crews also described being on the receiving end of an "angry mob" after coming back from a rescue, with members of the public shouting at the migrants to go "back to France".

Dowie said the charity was "doing the right thing" by going to people's aid, regardless of their reason for being in the water.

READ MORE: RNLI donations soar after Nigel Farage's 'taxi service for migrants' comment

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commented: “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.”

Farage has refused to apologise for his remarks during a subsequent rant on GB New, insisting he was “pointing out the truth”.

However, the former Brexit Party leader’s attacks appear to have backfired, with the RNLI report a surge in donations since the abuse began. The charity raised £200,000 in a single day as donations skyrocketed by 3000%.