Boris Johnson has been requested to seem in court docket about promises he lied by expressing the United kingdom gave the EU £350m a 7 days.
The Tory management prospect has been accused of misconduct in community place of work after earning the declare during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.
It is a personal prosecution released by campaigner Marcus Ball, who crowdfunded £200,000 for the case.
Mr Johnson’s reps have referred to as the case a “stunt” that is being “brought for political needs”.
The preliminary listening to will acquire place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court docket and the situation will then be despatched to the Crown Court for trial.
The BBC’s assistant political editor, Norman Smith, mentioned the allegations could not occur at a even worse time for Mr Johnson, and his critics are likely to use the statements versus him in the impending contest to become up coming Tory chief and prime minister.
The £350m determine was applied by the pro-Brexit Vote Leave team during the referendum marketing campaign on the side of a purple bus, contacting for the United kingdom to “fund our NHS rather”.
Mr Johnson faces a few allegations of misconduct in public place of work, among 21 February 2016 and 23 June 2016 – soon after he experienced introduced he was backing Go away, up till the referendum vote – and 18 April 2017 to 3 Might 2017 – through the basic election that calendar year.
Mr Ball’s legal professionals lodged an application in February to summons Mr Johnson, saying the MP had intentionally misled the public all through the 1st campaign, and repeated the statement through the next.
Lewis Electrical power QC, who represents Mr Ball, claimed Mr Johnson’s perform experienced been “the two irresponsible and dishonest”.
“Democracy requires liable and genuine management from those people in public business office,” he stated.
Mr Electricity mentioned the prosecution’s software was not brought to undermine the result of the 2016 referendum and it was not about what could have been accomplished with the saved funds.
“The allegation with which this prosecution is concerned, place just, is Mr Johnson repeatedly misrepresented the amount that the British isles sends to Europe every week,” he explained.
“It is concerned with just one notorious assertion: ‘We send out the EU £350m a 7 days.’
“The United kingdom has never ever despatched, offered or supplied £350m a week to Europe – that assertion is only not ambiguous.”
But Mr Johnson’s reps stated the case was about “the desire on the portion of people, these as Mr Ball, to undermine the referendum final result”.
They mentioned in submission to the court: “The application is a stunt. Its real objective is not that it ought to thrive, but that it really should be built at all. And made with as considerably general public fanfare as the prosecution can engender.”
In her written ruling, District Judge Margot Coleman explained: “The applicant’s scenario is there is enough evidence that the proposed defendant realized that the statements were fake.”
She continued: “I settle for that the public workplaces held by Mr Johnson deliver status, but with that status comes impact and authority.
“I am happy there is enough to establish prima facie proof of an problem to be established at demo of this aspect.”
What is misconduct in public business?
– It is an historic offence with roots again to the 13th Century
– It can only be brought versus a person who is performing exercises some variety of official purpose – these as a civil servant, a jail officer or someone else entrusted to have out a general public purpose
– An individual is responsible of the offence if a prosecution can prove that the formal wilfully neglected to accomplish their duty – or “misconducts” on their own – to such a diploma that it quantities to an abuse of the public’s have faith in in the business holder
– The offence can guide to lifetime imprisonment