In a surprise announcement this morning, it has emerged that the Government has released a White Paper aimed at criminalising the use of prime numbers.

A prime number is a number that can only be divided by 1 and itself and has many interesting applications, most notably in the field of computer encryption. When questioned, a government spokestwat said “This is a matter of utmost importance to national security. Prime numbers are deadly in the wrong hands and we have long been aware that certain criminal elements routinely use them to prevent government agencies and other unscrupulous third parties from prying into their communications.”

“Furthermore, it has come to our attention that prime numbers cannot be divided, which we see as a concept that is incompatible with the role of government.”

It must be noted that the last time something was considered indivisible, a German-born theoretical physicist proved everyone wrong resulting in the total destruction of two Japanese cities and 45 years of military brinksmanship.

“Well, that goes to show how noxious prime numbers really are then, doesn’t it? I genuinely feel that this vindicates our ongoing policy of hobbling the education system. Everyone agrees that kids should not be given firearms, so why draw the line there? Until we know the danger posed by Fibonacci sequences and trigonometry, mathematics will be withdrawn from the curriculum with immediate effect.”

The move has met with some criticism from the IT industry who claim it’s is just another attempt by the government to ride roughshod over the privacy of law-abiding citizens.

Further concerns were raised by eminent mathematician Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, who told the Herald “Prime numbers are an important part of the rich tapestry of mathematics. I believe that they have been unfairly demonised by the popular press purely because they are a misunderstood minority. Sure, you can never predict where a prime number will spring up, and they can be difficult to identify in a crowd of regular integers, but that doesn’t make them evil. We would be in a sorry state without them.”

Professor Stephen Hawking has been placed under house arrest.