THE FIRST Minister has said the "root causes" which drives migrants to risk their lives to get to the UK must be addressed following yesterday's Channel tragedy.

Nicola Sturgeon also said refugees should not be used as "political footballs" in a message on social media.

It comes after at least 27 migrants drowned when trying to cross the Channel yesterday, not far from the coast of Calais.

Reports said the inflatable boat they were in appeared flimsy and heavily deflated. 

Ms Sturgeon said: "Those seeking refuge from dreadful conditions are human beings not political footballs.

"They’re driven to smugglers out of desperation & lack of humanitarian routes.

"This, and root causes, need addressed if such tragedies aren’t to be endlessly repeated." 

Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to make a statement on the tragedy in the Commons this afternoon.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster said this morning that the UK had offered to send patrol support to France to help police the coast, however the French MP for Calais indicated the propespect would not work.

Mr Foster said: "The first thing, is working with France.

“We have offered resources, we are happy to support their operations on the beach.

“We have already agreed £54 million, we’re happy to look at doing more.

“We’re also prepared to offer resources beyond (that) – like yesterday, we deployed a helicopter at their request to help with the search and rescue operation, so we’re not just offering cash. It is in no-one’s interest for this to continue.”

Mr Foster added: “We’re prepared to offer support on the ground, we’re prepared to offer resources, we’re prepared to offer, literally, people to go there and assist the French authorities." 

The MP for Calais said he did not think that more patrols around the French border was the solution to the Channel migrant crisis.

Pierre-Henri Dumont told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m not sure that having more police officers or more materials on the French shore will help to stop these crossings because we have 200 or 300 kilometres of shore to monitor 24/7.

“It only takes five to 10 minutes to take a boat and put it at sea filled with migrants, so I’m not sure it is only a question of money and the number of men.”

Asked about the UK’s proposal to provide patrols of the French beaches, Mr Dumont added: “No, that wouldn’t work.

“To monitor all the shore would take thousands of people.

“There is also a question of sovereignty – I’m not sure the British people would accept it the other way round, with the French army patrolling the British shore.”