UK MP Boris Johnson to face Brexit misconduct charges
Jun 01 2019
Boris Johnson, former United Kingdom foreign minister and one of the leading supporters of Brexit during the 2016 vote, is the top choice among members of Britain's ruling Conservative Party to replace Theresa May as prime minister, according to a recent poll.
In a written decision, District Judge Margot Coleman said Mr Johnson will be summonsed on three offences alleging misconduct in a public office.
If the Magistrates' Court at a preliminary hearing decides there is a case to answer, it will be referred to the higher Crown Court.
She wrote: 'The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact.
Political observers consider Johnson the favorite among 11 candidates vying to replace Theresa May as leader of the governing Conservative Party, and therefore prime minister.
Johnson's submission to the court, prepared by Darbishire stated that "the application is a (political) stunt".
The 350 million pound figure was a central and controversial part of the pro-Leave campaign's "take back control" message, which was famously emblazoned across a campaign bus.
Former foreign secretary Johnson has insisted he must keep the threat of a no-deal Brexit on the table in order to secure a deal with the EU.
The offence of misconduct in public office carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, according to the Crown Prosecution Service website.
The development is likely to damage Johnson's prospects in the forthcoming Conservative party leadership contest, which will be triggered after May resigns on June 7.
The summons comes resulting from a private lawsuit brought by businessman Marcus Ball, who claims Johnson had purposely lied about the true costs of Britain's European Union membership.
"Its true objective is not that it should succeed, but that it should be made at all", his lawyer said.
President Donald Trump has weighed in on the power struggle in British politics, praising Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage and prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson and suggesting he may meet the pair on his state visit to Britain next week.
Trump told reporters he had great respect for Johnson and Farage and considered them friends, but declined to say whether he supported Johnson to succeed Theresa May, who is stepping down as prime minister after failing to steer the country out of the European Union.
"The conduct of the proposed defendant Boris Johnson was both irresponsible and dishonest".
While actively opposing the next government is not something Hammondf would choose to do "lightly or enthusiastically", he said a no-deal Brexit is "not in Britain's interests".