Johnson to challenge summons over £350m EU referendum claim at High Court

Boris Johnson has had a date set for his High Court challenge against a court summons over allegations of misconduct in a public office at the High Court.

A bid by the former foreign secretary to have a private prosecution against him dismissed is due to be heard in London on Friday.

District Judge Margot Coleman issued a summons for Mr Johnson to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where campaigner Marcus Ball is attempting to prosecute him for three offences of misconduct in a public office.

Mr Johnson’s lawyers are expected to argue the summons was unlawful and the criminal proceedings against him should be dropped.

Mr Ball, 29, claims Mr Johnson lied during the 2016 referendum campaign by saying that Britain gave £350 million a week to the European Union.

He has crowdfunded more than £200,000 through an online campaign to bring the prosecution against Mr Johnson.

Mr Ball previously said fighting Mr Johnson’s judicial review application was a “particularly expensive part of the legal process” and called on the public to donate to his campaign.

“When politicians lie, democracy dies,” he said.

Mr Johnson’s legal team previously told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that the MP, who is running in the Conservative Party leadership contest, denies acting dishonestly.

In a written decision on May 29, Judge Coleman said: “The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact.

“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. The charges are indictable only.

“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.

“The charges can only be dealt with in the Crown Court.”

The judge also said Mr Ball’s case was that there is “ample evidence” Mr Johnson knew his statements were false.

She added: “One example is given that in a televised interview in May 2016, the proposed defendant stated, ‘we send the EU £10 billion per year’ and that therefore he knew that the £350 million per week figure (£20 billion per year) was incorrect.”

A section of the judge’s ruling included Mr Johnson’s position, which described the application as “a (political) stunt”.

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”.