Judges publish reasons for quashing Boris Johnson bus claim case

Mr Johnson faced allegations of misconduct

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Two High Court judges have published their reasons for quashing a case against Boris Johnson, in which he faced allegations of misconduct in a public office.

The case related to claims he made during the 2016 referendum campaign that the EU receives £350 million a week from the UK, and was brought about by 29-year-old Marcus Ball, who believes Mr Johnson lied.

However, the senior judges quashed the decision to issue a court summons to the Tory leadership frontrunner, bringing an end to the attempted prosecution.

Announcing their reasons for their ruling, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone said that the judge who issued the summons had "erred" when reaching her decision.

Lady Justice Rafferty said the false statements made "in the course of political campaigning is not new" and that Parliament had enacted laws to deal with "certain false campaign statements which it considers an illegal practice".

She said this did not include false statements relating to publicly available statistics, and found Judge Coleman's decision would have "extended the scope" of the offence of misconduct in a public office.

She added that there was "no reasoning" by Judge Coleman as to why she concluded that the attempted prosecution was "not vexatious" and politically motivated.

The £350 million figure was emblazoned on the red campaign bus used by Vote Leave during the referendum, with the slogan saying "We send the EU £350 million a week, let's fund our NHS instead".

Lady Justice Rafferty said it appeared that "there would have been no complaint" if Mr Johnson had used a figure of "£350 million per week gross, or £250 million per week net".

Mr Ball crowdfunded over £300,000 in an online campaign to bring about the prosecution.

He says he worked on the case for three years.

Read more

Boris Johnson misconduct allegations quashed in High Court

Boris Johnson - the talkRADIO interview