Boris Johnson, favorite to be Britain’s next PM, to face court for alleged Brexit lies
The leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as British Prime Minister has been ordered to appear in court to face allegations he lied to the public during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign.
A judge at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London ordered that Boris Johnson, a former UK foreign secretary, must face a private summons on three counts of misconduct in public office.
Johnson, who was the high-profile face of the Leave campaign, is accused of falsely claiming that Britain’s membership of the European Union cost £350 million ($442 million) a week.
The claim was plastered on the side of a bus that toured Britain during the tightly fought campaign that resulted in a 52% vote in favor of the UK leaving the EU.
“Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offenses as drafted,” wrote Judge Margot Coleman.
“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 summons was lodged by Marcus Ball and financed by a crowdfunded campaign. He claims Johnson misled the public in the run-up and aftermath of the referendum and repeated the £350 million claim during the 2017 general election.
Johnson’s lawyer denied the allegation at an earlier court hearing.
Pundits put Johnson at the top of a wide field of candidates to succeed May, who announced last week that she was stepping down as leader of the governing Conservative Party in the light of the failure to deliver on the result of the 2016 vote.