Rishi Sunak expressed his “sorrow” at the deaths of people on the English Channel, telling MPs there had been a “tragic loss of life”.
A major search and rescue operation involving helicopters and lifeboats was launched at 3.07am and is ongoing, with 43 people rescued alive – some from the water, others from the vessel, and four reported to have died.
Channel incident – latest updates: Migrants dead as helicopters and lifeboats scrambled to rescue vessel
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “heartbreaking” there have been more deaths in the Channel.
He tweeted: “Heartbreaking that more lives have been lost in the Channel.
“Thanks to the emergency services for everything they do.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is expected to make a statement on the incident in the Commons following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
The boat was carrying between 30 to 50 people when it ran into difficulties, according to a French source.
Exclusive footage obtained by Sky News shows a black inflatable dinghy being retrieved from the water by rescue teams.
Searches will continue all day, but at this stage many more are feared dead given the freezing conditions of the water, a separate source has told Sky News.