The Ministry of Defence has banned its staff from speaking about the Trident nuclear weapons system in public.

In new rules issued on April 21, MoD staff are instructed not to discuss “Trident/Successor,“ “Scotland and Defence” or “Spending Reviews” and 9 other topics it believes are “contentious”.

The MoD’s instruction notice warns staff that leakers of information could face disciplinary action.

Submariner William McNeilly blew the whistle in 2015 on a catalogue of Trident safety and security failings. Campaigners fear the MoD’s new draconian speech rules will prevent further vital information from ever reaching the public.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“The MoD has cast a very wide net with these new speech rules, backed up by the threat of disciplinary action. That creates a climate of fear and will prevent MoD staff from speaking out even when it is in the public’s interest to do so.”

Ex-nuclear submarine commander Rob Forsyth told The Ferret “The requirement for all media contact by service personnel to be pre-screened by the MoD robs what they say of spontaneity and real value.

“It suggests that the MoD doesn’t trust its people to speak, particularly on issues as contentious as Scotland and Trident. This begs the question: why not?”

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