The following written statement was made to Parliament on 9 November 2023 by The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, the Secretary of State for Transport.

The written statement can also be read on GOV.UK.

Cranston Inquiry into the Channel incident of November 24, 2021

On 9 November 2023, I announced the establishment of an independent, non-statutory inquiry into the circumstances of this tragic mass-casualty incident which resulted in at least 27 fatalities. My thoughts continue to be with the loved ones of those who died, the survivors, and with those who responded to an extremely distressing event.

The inquiry will be chaired by Sir Ross Cranston, who will bring great experience and expertise to the role. Sir Ross has had a distinguished judicial career, with experience sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court, and as the judge in charge of the Administrative Court. Sir Ross is also a former Solicitor General for England and Wales. The inquiry will now be known as the Cranston Inquiry.

The terms of reference, a copy of which has been placed in the libraries of both Houses, enable the inquiry to focus on investigating this individual incident, with the aim of ensuring the rights of those affected are upheld and allowing the survivors and family members of the deceased to be heard. Crucially, it will also examine the circumstances in which the deceased lost their lives and what lessons can be learned to prevent incidents like this in the future.

In conducting this inquiry, Sir Ross will consider the investigation already carried out by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) into the incident.

The department will provide support and ensure the Inquiry has the resources that it needs to investigate this incident. Sir Ross and his team will now proceed with the important work of establishing the inquiry’s processes and procedures.