Legal papers lodged against Boris Johnson for ‘lies’ told during EU referendum

PUBLISHED: 18:37 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 21:12 22 February 2019

Boris Johnson addresses members of the public in York during the EU referendum campaign. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson addresses members of the public in York during the EU referendum campaign. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

2016 Getty Images

A prosecution against Boris Johnson for the “lies” told during the EU referendum campaign has taken a step closer after legal papers were lodged.

Marcus J Ball who is launching a private prosecution against Boris Johnson. (Photo: Sandra Vijandi)Marcus J Ball who is launching a private prosecution against Boris Johnson. (Photo: Sandra Vijandi)

The Brexiteer MP and Vote Leave leader has been accused of “abusing public trust” through the inaccurate claims made about the money sent each week to the EU.

Claims about £350m sent to Brussels featured prominently on a big red bus during the Brexit campaign and on literature sent to voters - despite the chair of the UK Statistics Authority writing to tell Johnson his claims were untrue.

A study carried out last year found that almost half of voters still believe the claim.

Now private prosecutor Marcus J Ball has filed papers at court, claiming three offences of misconduct in public office against Johnson.

Marcus J Ball who is launching a private prosecution against Boris Johnson. (Photograph: Sandra Vijandi)Marcus J Ball who is launching a private prosecution against Boris Johnson. (Photograph: Sandra Vijandi)

A district judge will now decide if there is a case for the former foreign secretary to answer.

Ball told The New European: “I want to stress that it is for the court to decide whether to issue a summons. Mr Johnson MP remains innocent unless proven guilty and I should remind those reporting this case to report it in a way that does not interfere with the proper administration of justice.

“I should also stress, it is not the intention of this prosecution to stop or delay Brexit on 29th March 2019.

“The prosecution believes that the evidence demonstrates Mr Johnson MP has lied to the British public in his positions as both M.P and Mayor of London and in so doing has abused the public’s trust in these offices.”

He previously explained further to TNE why he wanted to bring the case to court.

“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.

“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. “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.

Last year Alan Sugar said that Brexiteers like Boris Johnson should be in prison for the lies told during the referendum campaign.

Boris Johnson has not commented on the case.

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