Editorial: Rwanda plan not clear for take off

The Boeing 767 aircraft at MoD Boscombe Down, near Salisbury, on Tuesday evening

All eyes were on a military airport in Wiltshire on Tuesday evening – waiting to see if the Boeing 767 parked on the tarmac would be taking off for Rwanda.

It was probably the most watched flight since Priti Patel flew back from a family holiday in Israel, when International Development Secretary, to face an extremely unhappy Prime Minister in Theresa May.

In the end, Tuesday’s flight never got off the ground. Anglican and Catholic Bishops had spoken out against the plan, but it was ultimately a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights which prevented take off.

The extent to which criticism from Church leaders has been helpful is hard to know.

It seems to have done little to dampen enthusiasm for the policy in Government – indeed it has stoked the kind of outrage which seems part of the Government’s playbook for driving through controversial policies.

But saying nothing on such an important matter is also not an option.

Perhaps it highlights the need for a strong voice from the laity – especially when there are so many good Christian charities supporting refugees.

The Church has many voices. Choosing who, what, and when to speak is crucial if we are to be heard in the world today.