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The Guardian view on the Channel migrant deaths: desperate people deserve better | Editorial

The circumstances of this tragedy should lead the government to rethink its small boats strategy

“Today is a day to demonstrate our sympathy for the victims and families of this deadly and tragic incident,” the home secretary, Suella Braverman, told the House of Commons on Wednesday. Sombre Conservative MPs nodded gravely as she spoke, following the death of at least four migrants in freezing waters off the Kent coast.

It would be wrong to view those words, or the response, as in any way insincere. And Ms Braverman was also right to praise the heroic work of first responders, who managed to rescue more than 30 people from the icy water in the early hours of the morning. But in the wake of this appalling news, almost exactly a year after 27 migrants died attempting to cross the Channel, it is hard not to reflect on the very different tone of parliamentary debate the previous day.

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