A crowdfunded private prosecution case against former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gets its first appearance in court today.

Marcus J Ball, 29, took his case against Johnson to Westminster Magistrates’ Court on February 22. He has accused Johnson of abusing public trust in his office as Mayor of London and Member of Parliament by intentionally misleading the public with regards to how much money the UK spends on EU membership.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court has ruled that Ball v Johnson’s first court appearance will take place today at 2pm.

The first hearing will be held in private with a second, public hearing, set to occur either immediately afterwards or in the following few days.


In England, anyone can take a private criminal prosecution if the Crown Prosecution Service refuses to proceed with charges against an individual. The prosecution has to go before magistrates for their approval, but if permitted, a full criminal case will result.

The National: Marcus J Ball has taken a potentially landmark case against Boris Johnson to Westminster Magistrates’ CourtMarcus J Ball has taken a potentially landmark case against Boris Johnson to Westminster Magistrates’ Court

Ball has raised £370,000 for the costs of the case, and is out to set a precedent that could be followed worldwide. He basically wants to stop politicians from telling lies.


No, he’s deadly serious. He states: ‘I believe that when politicians lie democracy dies. If a company director lies to shareholders about financial matters they can be prosecuted. If a self employed person lies to HMRC about their spending or income they can be prosecuted. If a member of the public lies to the police about an ongoing investigation they can be prosecuted. This is because society and public trust cannot function based upon false information. So, why shouldn’t a politician be prosecuted for abusing public trust by lying about public spending figures?’

‘This case is a world first, it has never happened before. A Member of Parliament has never been prosecuted for misconduct in public office based upon alleged lying to the public.

‘My backers and I aspire to set a precedent in the UK common law making it illegal for an elected representative to lie to the public about financial matters. This would be the beginning of the end of lying in politics in the UK. Because of how the English common law works it’s possible that such a precedent could be internationally persuasive by influencing the law in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and India’.


If the prosecution is allowed, and that’s a big if, it will stop Boris’s Tory leadership campaign in its tracks. If not, Johnson will just laugh it off as usual.


Unusually for him, not a lot. He knows this is a serious problem, not just for him but all politicians who tell porkies.


The usual suspects have been queuing up to help him. The Spectator, for instance, defended their former editor by suggesting that the anti-Johnson faction should be careful about what they wish for.

“Next in the dock, surely,” wrote Ross Clark, “will be George Osborne for his claim that a vote for Brexit would result in unemployment rising by between 500,000 and 800,000 within two years (in the event unemployment fell to a 45 year low).

“And what about Nick Clegg who claimed in 2016 that the brief disappearance of Marmite from the shelves in 2016 in a contractual dispute between the manufacturers and Tesco was a foretaste of food shortages to come if we leave the EU without a trade deal? Both claims might struggle to stand up to examination that they were based on sound facts and reasoning.”

Clark makes a good point. But here in Scotland we would surely answer thus - drag them all into the courts and sack the unionist lot of them.