Boris Johnson to face court over Brexit comments

Boris Johnson to face court over Brexit comments, by Jacquelin Magnay.

Boris Johnson, the prominent Conservative party leadership contender, has been summoned to court to face misconduct allegations he lied about the European Union costing the country £350 million a week.

If found guilty, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment, but Mr Johnson’s supporters say the private prosecution is a desperate attempt and political witch hunt to try and stop Brexit. …

The allegations against Mr Johnson centre around a period he was campaigning for the 2016 Brexit referendum while he was still Mayor of London. Crowdfunder Marcus Ball, 29, initiated the civil case against Mr Johnson, accusing him of lying and engaging in gross criminal conduct while being in public office. …

Mr Johnson and Vote Leave campaigners quoted the £350 million a week claim from the Office of National Statistics’ “pink book” of tables. The ONS listed total debits to the EU in 2014 as £19.1 billion for 2014, or £367 million per week. But this figure doesn’t include rebates of around £4.4 billion.

Political observers said if Mr Ball’s case was successful it could open a floodgates of private claims against other officials including the Bank of England, which forecast higher interest rates if Brexit happened and Remainer George Osborne’s claim that Brexit would cost each household £4300 a year.

Another Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg said courts influencing political issues occurred in totalitarian regimes.

He added: “The issues of free speech totally overwhelm this bogus case … the law and politics need to be separate.”

The law traditionally doesn’t get involved in cases like this because the courts then increasingly become arbitrators of truth in general, which is beyond their ability. For many topics, the realms of politics and of science are more appropriate. Finding some truths is a very expensive business, taking decades or centuries of experience (e.g. communism versus capitalism) or concerted efforts by thousands of the best trained minds working for many years or decades (e.g. evolutionary theory still has huge unsatisfactory holes).

This is indeed an unwelcome development for a free society. Because the left control the bureaucracy and most courts, selective enforcement will ensure that only statements deemed untrue by the left will be prosecuted. It will be yet another mechanism for enforcing political correctness.