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Boris Johnson To Face Court Over £350m For The NHS Claim
29 May 2019, 11:31 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 06:54
Boris Johnson will have to attend court to face accusations of misconduct in public office over the claims of £350m for the NHS during the referendum.
The private prosecution by lawyer Marcus Ball argues that Mr Johnson repeatedly misled the public over the cost of EU membership.
A lawyer for the Conservative leadership candidate had argued it was a “political stunt” and should thus be thrown out.
However, Judge Margot Coleman disagreed, saying: "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."
LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood explained: "The accusation is relating to that famous bus with the promise that £350m a week can be recouped from Brussels to pay for the NHS.
"Lawyers accused Mr Johnson of lying to voters when he made that claim, saying he has abused public trust.
"The £350m is the gross figure that the UK sent to Brussles. On the back of that, we had a rebate from the European Union. So the actual net figure was £166m after the rebate.
"Now Boris Johnson when he made these claims, talked about taking back control of £350m - that we don't send the entirety of that money to the European Union every year.
"He was quite clever in the use of his words, but he is now going to have to answer these accusations to a court."
Even after the campaign, Mr Johnson was still sticking by the figure. The video above shows him insisting the £350m total is accurate.
He told Nick Ferrari: "The £350m represents the total sum that we do not control every week that is spent by Brussels, either in this country or it's squittered away in some other European country."
When Nick asked if he still supported that figure, Boris responded: "Of course I do."
But Nick hit back: "Jeremy Hunt told me he didn't recognise the figure yesterday."
Boris's response to that: "Well, you know. I'm just giving you. Well look. There's no question...
"Most people in this country, whether leavers or remainers will be gouging out their eyeballs with teaspoons at this conversation because we've had this so many times."
He went on to clarify: "We will take back control of that figure and that will be available for the government of the day to spend on the priorities of this country, including the NHS."