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Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Teacher Chris Grayling flooded with Twitter messages for justice secretary after setting up social media account in Hamstreet

22 March 2014
by Tim Collins

Hamstreet resident Chris Grayling, 59, has been inundated with messages from lawyers, activists and other Twitter users who are unhappy with the Conservative Justice Secretary of the same name.

But the part-time tutor and teacher at Cranbrook School decided to play up to the tweets he was receiving on the social media site.

Chris Grayling, who shares the same name as the Justice Secretary

Chris Grayling, who shares the same name as the Justice Secretary

Mr Grayling, who also writes fiction novels, said: “I signed up to Twitter about a year ago when I was trying to publicise my books.

“I started getting the odd tweet here and there clearly intended for the justice secretary. There was nothing too offensive, and so I decided I would try and respond in as humorous a way as possible.”

Although Mr Grayling’s responses were at first fairly light-hearted, he now says that he has undergone a bit of a political awakening.

Justice Secretary Grayling has been condemned by many in the political sphere, including numerous lawyers, for his plans to cut legal aid.

Will the real Chris Grayling please stand up The minister during a visit to Kent

Will the real Chris Grayling please stand up? The minister during a visit to Kent

Legal aid is funding available to help pay for legal advice, family mediation and representation in court for those who can’t afford to pay for their own representation.

Mr Grayling added: “If I’m honest, I was obviously keen to bring attention to my work and I thought I had nothing to lose by my association with the other Chris Grayling.

“But then I started learning from the large number of lawyers who were contacting me about what he is doing to things like Legal Aid, and I got a little bit energised by it.

“Legal Aid’s not something most people will hopefully ever need, but on the one occasion you do, it’s going to be a big event.

The author Chris Grayling's Twitter page

The author Chris Grayling's Twitter page

“I don’t think people realise the kind of changes happening behind their backs.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “At around £2billion a year we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world.

“I started getting the odd tweet here and there - clearly intended for the justice secretary" - Chris Grayling

“As everybody knows, this government is dealing with an unprecedented financial challenge and the MoJ has no choice but to significantly reduce the amount of money it spends every year.

“We have spoken at length over the past year with solicitors and barristers about the reforms and our final plans reflect many of the changes they asked for.

“It does mean fee reductions, but it also includes a series of measures to ease their effect on lawyers.”

 

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