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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Boris Johnson ordered to attend court over claim he knowingly lied during Brexit campaigning

The case relates to the claim that £350 million would be sent to the NHS instead if Britain voted to leave.

Boris Johnson campaigned for Brexit prior to the referendum
Boris Johnson campaigned for Brexit prior to the referendum
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

BORIS JOHNSON, THE frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister, must attend court over allegations that he knowingly lied during campaigning for the Brexit referendum, a judge announced today.

Johnson, the former foreign secretary, will be summoned to appear before a London court to face allegations of misconduct in public office, judge Margot Coleman said in a written decision without specifying the date.

The private prosecution is being brought over the 2016 claim that Britain sends £350 million (€400 million) a week to the European Union.

The decision follows a hearing last week at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, during which lawyers for businessman Marcus Ball, who crowdfunded the bid, lodged an application to summon Johnson.

“The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact,” Coleman said.

“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.

“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.”

Johnson, a former London mayor, is running to replace Theresa May as leader of the governing Conservative Party, and therefore prime minister.

Johnson was not present at last week’s hearing, but his lawyer Adrian Darbishire said the pro-Brexit figurehead staunchly denied acting in an improper or dishonest manner.

The maximum penalty for misconduct in public office is life imprisonment.

- © AFP 2019

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