British Red Cross refuses donations raised from pro-Ukip song

The charity's announces it will not to accept money raised from Mike Read's Ukip Calypso

Ukip Calypso cover
Ukip Calypso cover

The chair of the UK Independence Party has said he is "staggered" by the British Red Cross’s decision not to accept donations raised from the proceeds of a now-withdrawn pro-Ukip song.

Earlier this week, the radio DJ and presenter Mike Read released his song Ukip Calypso for download. The track includes lyrics such as: "Our leaders committed a cardinal sin/Open the borders let them all come in/Illegal immigrants in every town/Stand up and be counted Blair and Brown," sung by the Lancashire-born Read in a mock Caribbean accent.

Read intended to donate 50 per cent of the song’s proceeds to Ukip, with the other half going to the BRC to help the fight against the Ebola outbreak.

But after the song attracted controversy and complaints, Read asked the record company to withdraw it from sale on Wednesday, saying he was "absolutely mortified" at suggestions it had caused offence. It was still available for purchase for 79p on iTunes and Amazon on Thursday morning.

The BRC has used its Twitter account to confirm it will not be accepting the donation. It tweeted: "Re: #ukipcalypso: we had not been approached about this donation and we will not be able to accept any money from the proceeds of the single. As a neutral organisation we cannot benefit from something which overtly supports one political party. In addition, the Red Cross has a proud history of helping refugees and asylum seekers who are negatively referred to in the lyrics."

Steve Crowther, the chair of Ukip, said: "We are staggered by their decision. We regret that the British Red Cross think it's their place to put politics over saving peoples' lives. We will seek to donate all the money to another charity working to help tackle the tragic Ebola crisis in West Africa."

A spokesman for Ukip said it would be some time before it was known how much money the single had raised before its withdrawal.

Read has not tweeted about the affair. His most recent tweet, sent on Monday, said: "Big meeting with my buddies at Jamaica Tourism on 4 November looking at heading back there & filming TV specials."

After the European elections earlier this year, Paul Brannen, a newly elected Labour MEP and former head of advocacy at the charity Christian Aid, asked why the third sector had been "so quiet while Ukip marched to a national election victory." In reply, Jonathan Arnott, a newly elected Ukip MEP in the same North East England region as Brannen, said that his party’s policies "are not anti-charity."

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