High Court Throws out Legal Challenge Against Boris Johnson

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Boris Johnson speaks at a Conservative home fringe meeting on day three of the Conservative Party Conference on October 2, 2018 in Birmingham, England. The former Foreign Secretary makes his Brexit speech to the Conservative Home fringe meeting audience today. This is seen as a …
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JOE MARKHAM

The legal challenge brought against Boris Johnson for claims that he lied about the UK giving the EU £350 million a week has been thrown out by the High Court.

The claim was brought forward by anti-Brexit campaigner Marcus Ball and relates to a statement written on the side of a Vote Leave campaign bus during the EU membership referendum which read: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead.”

Mr Ball also accused Mr Johnson of having lied about the figure both in his time as London mayor and during the run-up to the 2017 General Election.

Mr Johnson, who is current favourite to become the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister, challenged the court summons relating to three counts of public misconduct.

Mr Ball had crowdfunded £300,000 to bring the case against Mr Johnson, though it was seen as motivated by a desire to overturn Brexit and undermine Mr Johnson.

Ball had originally boasted about his establishment connections in his pitch to raise the money, saying: “We have the research, the evidence, the legal team, the QC’s legal opinion on side, a persuasive legal argument on side, thousands of wonderful backers, as well as lots of journalists and national press, keen to cover the story.”

However on Friday, at a High Court hearing in London, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone overturned the court summons.

Ending the legal challenge against Mr Johnson, Lady Justice Rafferty addressed the politician’s barrister, Adrian Darbishire QC, saying: “We are persuaded, Mr Darbishire, so you succeed, and the relief that we grant is the quashing of the summonses.”

The reasons for the High Court’s decision will be presented at a later date. Mr Johnson has declined to comment on the case.

Mr Darbishire QC called the challenge against Mr Johnson “politically motivated and vexatious”.

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