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UK News

Christian Royal Navy weapons officer objecting nuclear weapons sues MOD for religious discrimination

by Alex Collett

A former Royal Navy weapons officer, who opposed nuclear weapons and was removed from a trident missile-armed submarine has sued the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Sub-Lieutenant Antonio Jardim, with joint British-Portuguese nationality and assigned to HMS Vanguard, is a Christian.

According to an employment tribunal, Jardim, said that after he made his objection known he was nicknamed "Trigger" by fellow sailors because of his aversion to the weapons and his "reluctance to pull the trigger."

Later Jardim was moved to an onshore role in Portsmouth.

In a statement ahead of an employment tribunal in Southampton, Jardim said: "I wanted to leave the service after the treatment I received when making my moral views known.
"I believe I have been subjected to a series of connected acts of discriminatory treatment based upon my religious beliefs."

He added: "Due to the stress from the entire process, along with an unbearable workload and lack of progress with my voluntary withdrawal from training and service complaint, I was sent sick on shore."

Jardim decided to leave the service in May 2021.
A tribunal report said: "After completing his initial officer training and joining the submarine service he was assigned for further training on board HMS Vanguard.
"HMS Vanguard carries nuclear missiles as part of the UK's nuclear deterrent.
"Mr Jardim's case is that as a Christian he is opposed to nuclear weapons, and that when he made his views known shortly after his appointment he was removed from the boat, had his security clearance cancelled and then spent about a year with shore-based employment before deciding to leave the Service.
"Mr Jardim claims when he attended his first joining interview for the Navy there were no questions asked relating to nuclear weapons."

The Ministry of Defence disputes the claims.

The full hearing will examine whether requiring sailors to serve on nuclear submarines puts people who object to nuclear weapons at a risk of discrimination, the tribunal suggested.

A full hearing will take place on 13 March 2023.

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