THE terrible tragedy in the Channel must inspire the governments of France and Britain to work together to solve the small boats crisis.

With French police standing by as boats are launched, there isn’t much inclination on the other side of the Channel to deter the sailors, but, equally, for all the tough talk of the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, it is clear she has made little headway in two years – despite taking back control of our borders being a key part of Brexit.

There is more we can do, from handling asylum applications overseas so people aren’t forced to make the crossing to sending home those whose applications fail – in the North East, there are failed asylum seekers whose appeals have been dragging on for ten years.

More than anything, though, this tragedy should remind us that these are people.

When we hear the bald statistics about 26,000 crossing the Channel so far this year, with more than 1,000 arriving on one record November day, they are just numbers, and it gets our backs up.

But these 27 included seven women, one of whom was pregnant, and three children, one of whom was just a little girl. They are humans. They must have been desperate – many were Kurds who are persecuted wherever they live in the Middle East – to try such a dangerous passage in the hope of finding a new life.

Now those very human hopes have been snuffed out, and our politicians must use the emotions of the moment to find a solution. Of course, the same was said 21 years ago when 58 people suffocated in a lorry – will it be any different this time?