Boris Johnson will be hauled to court over referendum claim that Britain sends the EU £350million every week which should be spent on NHS
Boris Johnson will be hauled to court to face accusations of misconduct in public office over comments he made in the build-up to the EU Referendum, a court has ruled today.
District Judge Margot Coleman had been asked to decide whether the Tory leadership candidate should appear in court over claims he was lying when he said the UK gave the EU £350 million a week and should ‘spend it on the NHS instead’.
Lawyers representing Marcus Ball successfully lodged an application at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to summons Mr Johnson as part of a private prosecution.
Businessman Mr Ball, 29, alleges that the former foreign secretary committed misconduct in public office by endorsing and making statements which he ‘knew to be false’ at a time when he was mayor of London and an MP.
The ruling will come as a blow to Mr Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign, with the race to heat up following Theresa May’s resignation on June 7.
Nominations must be entered by June 10 and will be followed by elections to whittle down the candidates and the court case will likely clash with Mr Johnson’s campaigning efforts, although a date has not yet been set for a trial.
Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson, pictured leaving his London home yesterday, will be summonsed to court over claims he misled the public before the EU Referendum
Entrepreneur Marcus Ball, 29, pictured, crowdfunded more than £370,000 to bring the private prosecution against Mr Johnson, which will be held at a crown court later this year
The judgment said: ‘The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact.
‘Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted. The charges are indictable only.
‘This means the proposed defendant will be required to attend this court for a preliminary hearing, and the case will then be sent to the Crown Court for trial.
‘The charges can only be dealt with in the Crown Court.’
Mr Ball, a startup entrepreneur from Norfolk, said earlier this month the case was a ‘world first’.
Speaking before a preliminary hearing he said: ‘This case is a world first, it has never happened before. A member of Parliament has never been prosecuted for misconduct in public office based upon alleged lying to the public.
‘My backers and I aspire to set a precedent in the UK common law making it illegal for an elected representative to lie to the public about financial matters.’
Mr Ball previously said he raised more than £370,000 across several crowdfunding campaigns to finance the case.
Mr Johnson was a key player in the Vote Leave campaign. He is pictured next to a bus claiming Britain sends the EU £350 million a week
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