High Court throws out £350m Brexit 'lie' case against Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
7th June 2019

Boris Johnson will no longer face a trial over claims he lied during the Brexit referendum campaign, after he launched a successful appeal to the High Court.

Mr Johnson will no longer be forced to appear in court
Credit: 
PA

Campaigner Marcus Ball raised money for a private prosecution and claimed the former Cabinet minister "lied" when he claimed the UK sends £350m a week to Brussels.

But judges today ruled that a summons for him to appear in court was unlawful, after the ex-Foreign Secretary launched a legal challenge.

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Mr Ball accused the Tory leadership frontrunner of knowingly making false statements about how much money the UK sends to the EU during the 2016 campaign.

At Westminster Magistrates Court on 29 March, District Judge Margot Coleman said that there was a “proper case” to issue summons for charges over misconduct in public office.

In her initial ruling, she 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."

But on Friday morning, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone overturned the decision.

Mr Johnson’s team argued the case was “politically motivated,” but the judges are yet to reveal the thinking behind their verdict.

The 'Back Boris' campaign for him to succeed Theresa May celebrated the ruling, Tweeting: “This is great news. The court summons should never have been issued in what was a clearly politically motivated case.”

The ex-London mayor is the bookies' favourite to win the Conservative crown and has the biggest number of colleagues backing him in Parliament.

Mr Johnson's team has been contacted for comment.