Boris Johnson faces court over £350m claim
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Boris Johnson is facing a court room showdown over claims he made about Brexit during the referendum campaign.
A private prosecution case is set to be lodged against the former foreign secretary who sensationally quit the cabinet after the prime minister revealed her Chequers plan.
Marcus J Ball has spent the past two years building the case against Johnson and even put his career on hold to spend more time gathering evidence.
The 28-year-old is now working with Lewis Power QC, of Church Court Chambers, to bring a charge of misconduct in public office. The specific accusation focuses on the claim that the UK sends £350m to the EU each week which Mr Ball disputes.
Infamously, the Vote Leave bus repeated that claim and suggested the money should instead be spent on the National Health Service.
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Mr Ball told The New European: 'The initial motivation was I thought the lies that politicians were saying to the public were disgusting. When the result happened I was very shocked and I started to look at some of the things both the Leave and Remain campaigns had been saying. Three days after the result I began planning the case.
'I was very emotional about what had happened. I was very angry.
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'Words that were used such as 'spend,' or 'send' money to the EU – that is what we are interested in. When people said 'take back control' of that £350m a week – that is not of interest because it is open to interpretation.
'I believe politicians lie all the time. This precedent would not – sadly – stop all lying in politics but it would, I hope, stop some of the more serious ones.
'My intention was to prosecute a lot more people than just Boris. But as we went on the case narrowed and we came to the conclusion that this was the best course of action.
'This is not a vendetta. I just want a better politics. People are often sceptical about what I am doing but I am trying to make a change and make politicians think twice about how they behave.
'This is not about stopping Brexit though. This is about changing the way our politicians behave.
'Lewis Power is going to be supported by two junior barristers and a company of solicitors. I have personally carried out the vast majority of the research.
'So far we have raised £200,000 from 5,000 backers. We need to raise more funds though. I believe it will cost around £2m to fully fund the court action.'
Once the papers have been lodged a decision will be made by the court about whether the prosecution should continue to trial.
Johnson was not available for comment but sources highlighted an announcement by then health secretary Jeremy Hunt that the government would spend more on the NHS post-Brexit.
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