The mysterious case of the disappearing Ministry of Justice MoJ video has now reached the House of Commons and whilst the mystery has been solved more controversy may follow.

Regular readers will be aware that the MoJ uploaded a video about employment and support allowance appeals to Youtube. However, the video was subsequently removed following complaints about it from employment minister Chris Grayling.

Two weeks ago the video mysteriously reappeared for two days and then disappeared again after becoming the most popular video ever produced by the MoJ. Copies of the video can, however, still be found on Youtube and elsewhere, having been saved and uploaded by claimants.

A number of Benefits and Work members complained to their MPs about the repeated disappearance of the video and the case has now been taken up by Labour MP Stephen Timms.

On 10 July Timms asked employment minister Chris Grayling “​for what reason his Department has directed that a Ministry of Justice video advising claimants on how to appeal against a refusal of employment and support allowance should be removed from the website YouTube.”​

Grayling’​s response was that:

“​The Department did not direct that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) video about employment and support allowance appeals be removed from the website YouTube. We sought to correct factual inaccuracies within the video which we brought to the attention of MOJ officials who agreed to revise the content of the video.

“​We understand that the Ministry of Justice reinstated the video, unamended, due to an administrative error. It has now been removed once more from the website.”​

This solves the mystery of why the video was removed for the second time.

However, Grayling’​s reply seems to be somewhat at odds with the truth –​ his department’​s objections were almost entirely about issues that were true but which they preferred not to be mentioned, such as the fact that claimants who attend an oral hearing are twice as likely to win. There is ample evidence that this is the case from Freedom of information documents obtained by welfare rights specialist Neil Bateman. It remains to be seen whether Timms will be satisfied with the response from Grayling.

You can read Grayling’​s statement here.


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