29 May 2019

Boris Johnson ordered to attend court over Brexit comments

10:05 pm on 29 May 2019

A British judge has ordered that Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace Theresa May as prime minister, must attend court to answer a private summons for allegations he lied to the public over Brexit.

Boris Johnson waves as he leaves 10 Downing Street.

Boris Johnson Photo: AFP

The judge at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled that Mr Johnson, the former foreign secretary, must answer a private summons alleging he had committed three offences of misconduct in a public office.

These relate to claims that Mr Johnson made in the run-up to and aftermath of the 2016 European Union referendum when he was one of the leading campaigners for Britain to leave the bloc. Britons voted by 52-48 percent to leave.

"During both time periods outlined above, the (proposed) defendant repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership, expressly stating, endorsing or inferring that the cost of EU membership was £350 million ($NZ678 million) per week," the application against Mr Johnson says.

In her written ruling, District Judge Margot Coleman said the allegations were not proven and she had made not finding of fact, but said Mr Johnson should face trial.

"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," Judge Coleman said.

"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."

Mr Johnson's spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

- Reuters

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