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Navy officer opposed to nuclear weapons files discrimination claim against Ministry of Defence

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Mr Antonio Jardim v Ministry of Defence a Christian nuclear submarine officer has filed a claim for discrimination – because he In Mr Antonio Jardim v Ministry of Defence a Christian nuclear submarine officer has filed a claim for discrimination – because he objects to nuclear weapons on religious grounds. Sub-Lieutenant Antonio Jardim told Royal Navy superiors that he was opposed to the use of Britain’s nuclear deterrent just days after being assigned to HMS Vanguard, a Trident missile-armed submarine. Sub-Lieutenant Antonio Jardim told Royal Navy superiors that he was opposed to the use of Britain’s nuclear deterrent just days after being assigned to HMS Vanguard, a Trident missile-armed submarine.

An employment tribunal heard that the practising Christian complains that after he made his objection he was nicknamed ‘Trigger’ by fellow sailors because of his aversion to the weapons. He claims that as a result of his making his beliefs clear, he lost his security clearance, was banned from being on board HMS Vanguard, and made to spend a year on shore-based employment in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Now he has launched legal action after resigning, by taking the Ministry of Defence to the tribunal claiming to be the victim of religious discrimination. The 15,900 tonne HMS Vanguard, which is nearly 500ft long, cost around £3.75 billion and is one of the most formidable ships the Royal Navy has ever built.

Mr Jardim claims when he attended his first joining interview for the Navy “there were no questions asked relating to nuclear weapons”. Mr Jardim says later in 2020 he was removed from a Trident Officers General Course, having told the course officer about his concerns, and told to wait in his cabin. He said he faced “comprehensive interview” with “in depth questions of my views, relationships and background”.

At the preliminary employment tribunal hearing in Southampton, a panel chaired by Employment Judge Eoin Fowell allowed Mr Jardim to make tweaks to his claims and allowed the case to proceed to a further hearing in 2023.

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