UK court blocks bid to prosecute PM Johnson over Brexit bus claim

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FILE PHOTO: Former London Mayor Boris Johnson speaks at the launch of the Vote Leave bus campaign, in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, in Truro, Britain May 11, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Staples/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – A campaigner who wanted to prosecute British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for allegedly lying about the benefits of Brexit before the 2016 European Union referendum, has lost his bid to take the case to Britain’s top court, Sky News reported.

Marcus Ball, 29, wanted to bring the crowdfunded private prosecution against Johnson for misconduct in public office over a claim emblazoned on his bright red “Leave” campaign bus that Britain would be 350 million pounds ($445 million) a week better off outside the EU.

In May, a magistrate agreed that Johnson should be summoned to court to face the charges. But that decision was overturned by London’s High Court in June after judges agreed with the lawyer for Johnson – who became prime minister in July while the case was ongoing – that the magistrate’s decision was flawed.

The lawyer also argued the case was politically motivated and the judges said the magistrate was wrong not to have considered it to be “vexatious”.

Ball had asked for permission to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court but on Wednesday his application to do so was refused by the High Court.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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