Boris Johnson to face court over Brexit campaign
The bookmakers’ favourite to become the next British Prime Minister must appear in court to face allegations over Brexit campaign lies.
British MP Boris Johnson, the person most likely to replace Theresa May as prime minister when she steps down on June 7, must appear in court to face allegations that he lied to UK citizens about Brexit, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
The court summons came from a judge at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ calling for former foreign secretary to face questioning over allegations that he committed three offences of misconduct while holding public office.
Boris Johnson accused of misleading the British public over Brexit
The allegations made against the ex-London Mayor claim he misled the British public in the build up to the Brexit referendum, where he was a leading member of the Leave campaign.
The British people voted 52%-48% to leave the European Union back in June 2016.
‘During both time periods outlined above, the (proposed) defendant repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership, expressly stating, endorsing or inferring that the cost of EU membership was [£350 million] per week,’ the application against Johnson said.
The £350 million figure, which leave campaigners famously had emblazoned on the side of a bus, was a controversial sound bite used to drum up support for Brexit, with pro-EU supporters contesting that it misled the electorate.
‘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,’ District Judge Margot Coleman said in her written ruling.
‘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,’ she added.
Boris Johnson’s lawyers label court summons a political stunt
Johnson’s lawyers have labelled the court summons a political stunt aimed at regulating the debate around Brexit by those opposed to Britain leaving the EU.
‘The decision to summon Boris Johnson is extraordinary. It is not the role of criminal law to regulate political speech,’ according to an unnamed source cited by the Daily Mail’s deputy political editor.
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