Leading British authors Philip Pullman and Mark Haddon have criticised the U.K. government over new rules which ban prisoners from receiving books from the outside.

New regulations introduced in November (13) mean inmates can no longer have books and other items sent into the prison where they are serving their time.

The move has disgusted the likes of Pullman, the writer behind the His Dark Materials trilogy, who has branded British justice minister Chris Grayling a "bully" over the introduction of the policy.

Pullman tells Britain's The Guardian newspaper, "(The move is) one of the most disgusting, mean, vindictive acts of a barbaric government. Words nearly fail me on this. It comes from the mind of a man with the outlook of the sort of school bully who is indulged and favoured by the teachers, who can see perfectly well how noxious his behaviour is, but allow it to continue on the grounds that at least he's keeping order. Any government worth having would countermand this loathsome and revolting decision at once, sack the man responsible, and withdraw the whip from him."

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time writer Haddon tweets, "You can no longer send books to people in prison. Chris Grayling's new policy. Appalling."