Boris Johnson prosecution thrown out by British High Court
Conservative leadership candidate faced allegation he lied during Brexit referendum campaign
Britain's High Court has quashed a bid to prosecute Conservative lawmaker Boris Johnson for allegedly lying during the country's 2016 European Union membership referendum.
Two judges on Friday threw out a lower court's ruling that Johnson should be summoned to answer questions about Brexit campaigners' claim that Britain pays 350 million pounds ($592 million Cdn) a week to the EU. The net figure Britain sends is about half that.
Activist Marcus Ball brought a private prosecution against Johnson for misconduct in public office.
Johnson's lawyers argued the prosecution was politically motivated, and said the monetary figure "was just a political claim" that voters could accept or reject.
The Brexit side won the referendum, triggering Britain's problem-filled effort to negotiate its exit from the EU.
Johnson is considered a favourite among the 11 candidates to succeed Theresa May, who was stepping down as Conservative Party leader Friday.
Listen: How good are Johnson's chances of becoming Britain's next prime minister?
May will remain as prime minister for a few weeks while the party picks a successor, who will become Britain's next prime minister and inherent the challenge of delivering Brexit. Conservative lawmakers will hold a ballot June 13, with any candidates who don't get at least five per cent of votes dropping out.
Further rounds will be held on June 18, 19 and 20 if needed, with the least popular candidate dropping out each time.
The final two candidates will be put to a postal ballot of about 160,000 Conservative members, with the winner announced the week of July 22.