First hearing of private prosecution of Boris Johnson over Brexit campaign £350million claim
- Credit: Archant
The first stage of a private prosecution of Boris Johnson, over his part in the Vote Leave campaign's '£350 million' claim on the side of a bus, took place today.
Marcus Ball, 29, is bringing the private case against Mr Johnson for allegedly abusing public trust during the EU referendum campaign.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today for a behind-closed-doors legal hearing ahead of the case starting properly on May 23 - the date of the European Parliament elections.
Giles Bright, Ball's solicitor, said that at this hearing the judge will consider whether or not to issue a summons against Johnson.
Ball 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.
You may also want to watch:
The allegation relates to the much-trumpeted claim by the Vote Leave campaign that the UK sends £350 million a week to the European Union, which was found to be misleading by the UK Statistics Authority.
Speaking before the hearing, Ball said: "This is a purely legal case, it is not about political point-scoring.
- 1 Brexit regret: Meet the Leave voters who wish they hadn't voted Leave
- 2 Boris Johnson vows action over 'absurd' post-Brexit trading arrangements
- 3 Defence minister Johnny Mercer 'trying to resign' - reports
- 4 Government scraps Brexit permits to enter Kent
- 5 Why everyone in rents in Germany
- 6 Opposition parties push for probe into Boris Johnson's conduct following viral video
- 7 No 10 says Johnny Mercer is 'valued' minister as it attempts to stop him resigning
- 8 How will you vote in the upcoming elections?
- 9 Plan for White House-style briefings axed despite £2.6m spend on media room
- 10 Johnny Mercer 'sacked' by No 10 after speculation he intended to resign
"And we must remember he is innocent until proven guilty."
In a tweet posted to his 13,000 followers before he headed into court, Mr Ball said: "Today is the first day, after almost three years of work, that our prosecution case against Mr Johnson MP is being heard in court."
More than 30 supporters gathered outside the court while Ball's case was heard.
Before the hearing, Ball 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."
Ball has previously said he raised more than £370,000 across several crowdfunding campaigns to finance the case.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.