BORIS Johnson will not face court over his £350m Brexit bus claim – after his lawyers argued it was a “nonsense” and “politically driven” Remainer campaign.
The Brexiteer’s representatives earlier fought back against a court challenge saying he committed misconduct in public office, arguing the judge who issued the summons “erred in law”.
Today the High Court threw out the summons, which would have dragged him into court to face a trial.
Mr Johnson’s lawyers argued the attempt to prosecute the former foreign secretary by a Remain supporter was the culmination of a “politically-driven process”.
A crowd-funded campaign was trying to prosecute him, claiming he lied when he said that Britain sends £350million a week to the EU.
The slogan was slapped on the side of a Vote Leave us in the referendum campaign, which Boris was a part of.
They said it all boiled down to an argument about whether it was the net figure or the gross figure should be used, and he didn’t mislead the public.
During three and a half hours of arguments, Adrian Darbishire QC, for Mr Johnson, said: “The only rational conclusion which could be reached (by the judge) was that the prosecution was politically motivated and, therefore, vexatious.”
And he argued that the proposed prosecution was “an area of public life that has never previously been subject to the attentions of the criminal law”.
Mr Darbishire told the court that the making of false statements “must be as old as political campaigning itself” and that Mr Johnson’s use of the £350 million figure could not be characterised as misconduct.
As soon as the £350million claim was made it immediately became a subject of fierce debate, they added.
Boris wasn’t present at today’s High Court hearing, but was seen leaving a home in London this morning.
A spokesperson said he won’t be commenting on today’s case.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid wrote on Twitter: “Very glad to see the court case against @BorisJohnson thrown out. Freedom of speech feels increasingly challenged – we should always seek to debate political arguments in the open rather than close them down.”
Giving the court’s decision, Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice Supperstone, said: “We are persuaded, Mr Darbishire, so you succeed, and the relief that we grant is the quashing of the summonses.”
They took just a few minutes to overturn the decision of a district judge, but the reasons will be given at a later date.
Boris was issued with a summons last month to appear at court, to answer charges of three counts of misconduct in a public office, but that decision has now been overturned.
He’s the favourite to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister after she officially steps down today.