Some legend could land Boris Johnson in jail. The former foreign secretary faces court action over his false claim that Brexit would free up an extra £350m for the NHS. Marcus J Ball, who’s leading the charge, says the case could set a legal precedent that helps prevent politicians lying in general.
The initial motivation was I thought the lies that politicians were saying to the public were disgusting. When the result happened I was very shocked and I started to look at some of the things both the Leave and Remain campaigns had been saying. Three days after the result I began planning the case.
£350m a week?
The NHS funding promise from Brexiteers was a straight-up lie to begin with. The UK receives an abatement from the EU meaning the amount we initially send is actually under £250m a week. And that’s before you consider other EU payments to the UK, such as those to farmers, poorer areas and businesses.
In a press release seen by The Canary, Ball said his team has “evidence” that Johnson was “fully aware” of that reality. But the former foreign secretary still “
“Politicians lie all the time”
Ball is realistic about the potential outcomes of his court case:
I believe politicians lie all the time. This precedent would not – sadly – stop all lying in politics but it would, I hope, stop some of the more serious ones.
He also pointed out that courts cannot overturn Brexit, but they can set a legal precedent for charging politicians for lying.
Ball clarified his intentions:
This is not a vendetta. I just want a better politics. People are often sceptical about what I am doing but I am trying to make a change and make politicians think twice about how they behave.
This is not about stopping Brexit though. This is about changing the way our politicians behave.
Given his campaign has raised £25,000 in under two days, it seems a lot of people agree with him. See you in court Johnson!
Watch Ball lay out his case here:
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Featured image via Chatham House/ Flickr