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Tags Boris Johnson , Brexit , uk politics

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Old 29th May 2019, 04:28 AM   #1
Ian Osborne
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Boris Johnson to face charges for Misconduct in a Public Office

Boris Johnson to face charges for Misconduct in a Public Office

Awesome news. There was so much lying and cheating in that EU referendum. It's about time someone was called to account for it.

Interestingly, the maximum sentence for Misconduct in a Public Office is life imprisonment. Obviously BoJo would face a lot less than that, but if he wins the Tory Party leadership contest, we could in theory see a serving Prime Minister sent to prison. Just when you thought UK politics couldn't get any worse.

Do the lawyers on this forum have any thoughts on whether the prosecution is likely to be successful?
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Old 29th May 2019, 04:30 AM   #2
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I'm reminded of Zaphod Beeblebrox for some reason.

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Old 29th May 2019, 05:54 AM   #3
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According to fullfact.org,
Quote:
£350 million a week doesn’t include the rebate
It’s been claimed that we send £350 million a week to the EU. That misses out the rebate, and it doesn’t represent the total economic costs and benefits of EU membership to the UK.

£350 million is roughly what we would pay to the EU budget without the rebate. The UK actually paid closer to £250 million a week.

The UK Statistics Authority has said the EU membership fee figure of £19 billion a year, or £350 million a week, is "not an amount of money that the UK pays to the EU each year".

Since then, the new chair of the Authority described use of the figure by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, as “a clear misuse of official statistics”.

The UK gets money back
The government then gets some of that money back, mainly through payments to farmers and for poorer areas of the country such as Wales and Cornwall.

In 2017, the UK's ‘public sector receipts’ are estimated to be £4 billion.

So overall we paid in £8.9 billion more than we got back.

The Treasury figures note payments the EU makes directly to the private sector, such as research grants. In 2015, these were worth an estimated £1.5 billion, so including them could reduce our net contribution further still.
(Link: https://fullfact.org/europe/our-eu-m...ee-55-million/)
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Old 29th May 2019, 06:38 AM   #4
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Yeah, he's clearly lied, but do those lies meet the legal definition of Misconduct in a Public Office?
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Old 29th May 2019, 06:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
I'm reminded of Zaphod Beeblebrox for some reason.

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Holy B*****m

The modern world of politics is very, very Zaphod.
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Old 29th May 2019, 06:49 AM   #6
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This should be good. I bet with a friend that BoJo would NOT be the next leader of the Tories, and that was looking a bit foolish. However, everything would be made right if Boris is convicted of something. In fact, if the UK politics genie turned up and said he would grant me three wishes about anything I wanted in politics I would just say, "Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!"

That would be all three wishes at once.
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Old 29th May 2019, 10:39 AM   #7
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Gawd, I wish we had a law like that!
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Old 29th May 2019, 11:32 AM   #8
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Johnson is a slimebag of the worst kind.
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Old 29th May 2019, 05:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Gawd, I wish we had a law like that!
It's usually used against authority figures such as police officers or prison guards who abuse their positions. As far as I know, this is the first time it's been aimed at a politician.
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Old 29th May 2019, 05:19 PM   #10
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they should be questioning the time he claimed everyone from turkey would move to britain if we didn't vote leave rather than the £350 million a week to the nhs which he will squirm out of.
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Old 29th May 2019, 05:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
Yeah, he's clearly lied, but do those lies meet the legal definition of Misconduct in a Public Office?
I'm not sure it's the lie that the case will be focusing on, more the abuse of his position to propagate the lie.
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Old 29th May 2019, 08:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Holy B*****m
Dude! Do you mind? Jeez.
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Old 29th May 2019, 08:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
Do the lawyers on this forum have any thoughts on whether the prosecution is likely to be successful?

None of this exists in any form in the US. Even when private citizens are allowed to step in and do the job of government regulation, issues of speech and differences of interpretation of policy would never make it very far. Politics is politics, courts very rarely get a say.
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Old 30th May 2019, 05:53 AM   #14
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I see there has been a lot of inevitable huffing and puffing in the right-wing press, claiming this is an affront to free speech. Politicians, of course, lie during election campaigns all the time, but there is an inherent difference between promising to implement X, Y, or Z policy if elected, and then afterwards reneging on it, because they never intended to do it, and outright lying about basic facts in order to fool and manipulate the electorate, as Johnson did (and not for the first time).
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Old 30th May 2019, 06:14 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
I see there has been a lot of inevitable huffing and puffing in the right-wing press, claiming this is an affront to free speech. Politicians, of course, lie during election campaigns all the time, but there is an inherent difference between promising to implement X, Y, or Z policy if elected, and then afterwards reneging on it, because they never intended to do it, and outright lying about basic facts in order to fool and manipulate the electorate, as Johnson did (and not for the first time).
And continuing to do so after being told by the UK Statistics Authority his figure was way out.
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Old 30th May 2019, 06:30 AM   #16
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All Johnson needs to do is find a source that at least appears credible for that figure and then claim he believed it. That other figures may disagree does not matter. So long as he has a source he can cast reasonable doubt that he was lying about the figure.
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Old 30th May 2019, 06:48 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
All Johnson needs to do is find a source that at least appears credible for that figure and then claim he believed it. That other figures may disagree does not matter. So long as he has a source he can cast reasonable doubt that he was lying about the figure.
Does that include reading it on the side of a bus?
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Old 30th May 2019, 07:38 AM   #18
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David Allen Green on twitter

Quote:
Reasons to oppose the Boris Johnson prosecution

Good reason - misconduct in public office too vague to be the basis for criminalising any politicians' speech

Bad reason - prosecution "a threat" to the great political tradition of politicians casually lying to voters.
https://twitter.com/davidallengreen/...413992449?s=20
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Old 30th May 2019, 08:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
All Johnson needs to do is find a source that at least appears credible for that figure and then claim he believed it. That other figures may disagree does not matter. So long as he has a source he can cast reasonable doubt that he was lying about the figure.
The problem with that potential loophole is the highlighted below

Quote:
In her written decision summoning Johnson to court, District Judge Margot Coleman also said:

“The applicant’s case is there is ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false.

One example is given that in a televised interview in May 2016 the proposed defendant stated, ‘we send the EU 10 billion per year’ and that therefore he knew that the 350 million per week figure (20 billion per year) was incorrect.
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Old 30th May 2019, 09:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
The problem with that potential loophole is the highlighted below
Barack Obama once said that there were 57 states in the United States. I'm not sure this tells us anything useful about whether he actually knows the correct number of states.
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Old 30th May 2019, 10:15 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
The problem with that potential loophole is the highlighted below

Quote:
In her written decision summoning Johnson to court, District Judge Margot Coleman also said:

“The applicant’s case is there is ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false.

“One example is given that in a televised interview in May 2016 the proposed defendant stated, ‘we send the EU 10 billion per year’ and that therefore he knew that the 350 million per week figure (20 billion per year) was incorrect.”
This assumes he is capable of simple arithmetic. As far as I know there is no requirement for a politician to be scientifically or mathematically literate.
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Old 30th May 2019, 11:05 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Barack Obama once said that there were 57 states in the United States. I'm not sure this tells us anything useful about whether he actually knows the correct number of states.
The difference is that Obama misspoke once and accepted correction. Boris wrote a lie on the side of a bus and repeated that lie when it was shown to be a lie and he accepted that it was.
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Old 30th May 2019, 11:22 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
The difference is that Obama misspoke once and accepted correction. Boris wrote a lie on the side of a bus and repeated that lie when it was shown to be a lie and he accepted that it was.
The difference is that this is a completely different argument than the one that p0lka actually made, and that I actually addressed. You have the same objection to p0lka's argument that I do. Why are you taking it up with me, instead of taking it up with p0lka like you should?

---

This is actually a pretty common dynamic around here. A progressive says something silly. A conservative points out that it's silly. Another progressive comes along, agreeing that it was in fact silly, but somehow managing to ignore the actual silliness and find an excuse to take the conservative to task for... being right?

Last edited by theprestige; 30th May 2019 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 30th May 2019, 11:49 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
I see there has been a lot of inevitable huffing and puffing in the right-wing press, claiming this is an affront to free speech. Politicians, of course, lie during election campaigns all the time, but there is an inherent difference between promising to implement X, Y, or Z policy if elected, and then afterwards reneging on it, because they never intended to do it, and outright lying about basic facts in order to fool and manipulate the electorate, as Johnson did (and not for the first time).
Notice how they are attacking the man who brought the writ, describing him as an obsessive' who 'used £24K from crowdfunding on himself'.

A High Court judge decreed there was 'probable cause' so might be worth booking a front row seat to see BoJo in the witness box explaining where he got his figures from.
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Old 30th May 2019, 11:51 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
The difference is that Obama misspoke once and accepted correction. Boris wrote a lie on the side of a bus and repeated that lie when it was shown to be a lie and he accepted that it was.
Another difference is in the USA you can say whatever you like with impunity.
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Old 30th May 2019, 11:57 AM   #26
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A key requirement for standing in an election is that you are an upstanding citizen of good character. Just like you can't be seen to be claiming expenses for a private moat, you can't be seen to be acting fraudulently.

It's one thing to say £X'000's is deferred away from the NHS but quite another to think of a random number and multiply it a thousandfold and failing (lying by omission) to qualify your claim by acknowledging a portion of what is sent to the EU is retrospectively rebated back.

There's a fine line between making false promises and deliberately setting out to deceive and mislead voters into voting for your position when as a public servant you have an obligation and duty to be reasonably honest.
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Old 30th May 2019, 12:06 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
A key requirement for standing in an election is that you are an upstanding citizen of good character. Just like you can't be seen to be claiming expenses for a private moat, you can't be seen to be acting fraudulently.
Hell in the US that kind of thing helps win elections
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Old 30th May 2019, 12:35 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Barack Obama once said that there were 57 states in the United States. I'm not sure this tells us anything useful about whether he actually knows the correct number of states.
As I said previously, it's not the lie that's the problem re bojo, it's using your position to propagate the lie that's the issue.
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Old 30th May 2019, 12:44 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The difference is that this is a completely different argument than the one that p0lka actually made, and that I actually addressed. You have the same objection to p0lka's argument that I do. Why are you taking it up with me, instead of taking it up with p0lka like you should?

---

This is actually a pretty common dynamic around here. A progressive says something silly. A conservative points out that it's silly. Another progressive comes along, agreeing that it was in fact silly, but somehow managing to ignore the actual silliness and find an excuse to take the conservative to task for... being right?
Eh?
I didn't make an argument?
I just quoted a factual statement from the judge that would make it hard for bojo to pretend he didn't know he was lying?
I hate labels.
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Old 30th May 2019, 12:49 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
Eh?
I didn't make an argument?
I just quoted a factual statement from the judge that would make it hard for bojo to pretend he didn't know he was lying?
I hate labels.
The statement from the judge, while factual, does not actually make it hard for Boris Johnson to claim he didn't know the correct figure.

All the judge says is that Johnson gave an incorrect figure in an interview. This by itself doesn't tell us anything useful about whether Johnson actually knows the correct figure. I'm baffled as to why the judge would think it does. I'm baffled as to why you think the judge's reasoning (such as it is) is worthy of notice except to ridicule.

The Don's argument, which is substantially different from the one the judge made and you cited, is a much better argument that doesn't put a dunce cap on the head of the person making it.
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Old 30th May 2019, 01:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The statement from the judge, while factual, does not actually make it hard for Boris Johnson to claim he didn't know the correct figure.

All the judge says is that Johnson gave an incorrect figure in an interview. This by itself doesn't tell us anything useful about whether Johnson actually knows the correct figure. I'm baffled as to why the judge would think it does. I'm baffled as to why you think the judge's reasoning (such as it is) is worthy of notice except to ridicule.

The Don's argument, which is substantially different from the one the judge made and you cited, is a much better argument that doesn't put a dunce cap on the head of the person making it.
It's not the judge that is making accusations, I would hope that would be completely unethical in the UK, we like our judges to be impartial.

Quote:
In her written decision summoning Johnson to court, District Judge Margot Coleman also said:

The applicant’s case is there is ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false.

“One example is given that in a televised interview in May 2016 the proposed defendant stated, ‘we send the EU 10 billion per year’ and that therefore he knew that the 350 million per week figure (20 billion per year) was incorrect.”
Note the highlighted, It's the applicant that's saying it,
the judge is just quoting it.

US/UK differences shock me sometimes.

Last edited by p0lka; 30th May 2019 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 30th May 2019, 01:19 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
It's not the judge that is making accusations, I would hope that would be completely unethical in the UK, we like our judges to be impartial.



Note the highlighted, It's the applicant that's saying it,
the judge is just quoting it.

US/UK differences shock me sometimes.
True, but in a preliminary hearing a judge has the power to strike out a case. Instead it's been listed for a criminal hearing. A judge won't do this without 'reasonable prospect of success'.
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Old 30th May 2019, 01:22 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
It's not the judge that is making accusations, I would hope that would be completely unethical in the UK, we like our judges to be impartial.



Note the highlighted, It's the applicant that's saying it,
the judge is just quoting it.

US/UK differences shock me sometimes.
Okay, then I'm baffled as to why the applicant thinks that quote shows Johnson knew the right figure. I hope the judge doesn't agree with the applicant. I hope you don't agree with the applicant. I hope you and The Don agree with me that the applicant's claim is silly, and that The Don's own argument is much closer to what the applicant actually needs to be claiming.

And I hope The Don will someday explain why he found it necessary to take me to task over the silliness in the applicant's claim.
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Old 30th May 2019, 01:40 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Okay, then I'm baffled as to why the applicant thinks that quote shows Johnson knew the right figure. I hope the judge doesn't agree with the applicant. I hope you don't agree with the applicant. I hope you and The Don agree with me that the applicant's claim is silly, and that The Don's own argument is much closer to what the applicant actually needs to be claiming.

And I hope The Don will someday explain why he found it necessary to take me to task over the silliness in the applicant's claim.
How does knowing and saying the right figure show Johnson jnew the right figure? Its a mystery isnt it? We are all truly baffled as to why anyone would think that saying the right figure would suggest you knew the right figure.

Its just as likely that he misspoke and accidentally said the right figure. Because there is no way he could have kniwn his lie was a lie right? its not like he had been repeatedly told publically that the number was a lie. Right?

I mean a conservative wouldnt be making a ******* crazy point to excuse one of their poster boys on an unlikely technicality would they? That certainly never happens round here.
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Old 30th May 2019, 02:04 PM   #35
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
How does knowing and saying the right figure show Johnson jnew the right figure?
Thanks! Somehow I missed that. Obviously my argument makes no sense now, and I withdraw it. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 30th May 2019, 02:27 PM   #36
p0lka
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Okay, then I'm baffled as to why the applicant thinks that quote shows Johnson knew the right figure. I hope the judge doesn't agree with the applicant. I hope you don't agree with the applicant. I hope you and The Don agree with me that the applicant's claim is silly, and that The Don's own argument is much closer to what the applicant actually needs to be claiming.

And I hope The Don will someday explain why he found it necessary to take me to task over the silliness in the applicant's claim.
It doesn't matter what the judge thinks,

If there's a case to answer, then there's a case to answer.

edit:
I don't know how it works in the US, luckily I live in the UK.

Last edited by p0lka; 30th May 2019 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 30th May 2019, 02:51 PM   #37
p0lka
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thanks! Somehow I missed that. Obviously my argument makes no sense now, and I withdraw it. Sorry for the confusion.
Oh i missed your post as I was posting,
nice of you to admit when you might need to rethink, it's all a learning experience eh?
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Old 30th May 2019, 03:36 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
A key requirement for standing in an election is that you are an upstanding citizen of good character. Just like you can't be seen to be claiming expenses for a private moat, you can't be seen to be acting fraudulently.

It's one thing to say £X'000's is deferred away from the NHS but quite another to think of a random number and multiply it a thousandfold and failing (lying by omission) to qualify your claim by acknowledging a portion of what is sent to the EU is retrospectively rebated back.

There's a fine line between making false promises and deliberately setting out to deceive and mislead voters into voting for your position when as a public servant you have an obligation and duty to be reasonably honest.
I have always voted Lib Dem including the recent Euro elections and voted Remain. Nevertheless putting politicians in the dock for election promises is quite absurd. I of course get that satirists on "Have I got new for you" or "Question Time" could have great fun with the mock outrage that politicians might, shock horror, have to tell the truth in the future. Nevertheless I find it very hard to believe that Johnson's lawyers can't find many, many ways of defending this. This will not succeed, in my opinion, and in the hypothetical scenario that it would, there would be an awfully long queue of similar disaffected voters.
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Old 30th May 2019, 10:30 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The statement from the judge, while factual, does not actually make it hard for Boris Johnson to claim he didn't know the correct figure.

All the judge says is that Johnson gave an incorrect figure in an interview. This by itself doesn't tell us anything useful about whether Johnson actually knows the correct figure. I'm baffled as to why the judge would think it does. I'm baffled as to why you think the judge's reasoning (such as it is) is worthy of notice except to ridicule.

The Don's argument, which is substantially different from the one the judge made and you cited, is a much better argument that doesn't put a dunce cap on the head of the person making it.
Boris Johnson could in theory claim that he was ignorant of the true figure - though that would be a tough ask because the UK's net contributions to the EU were a matter of public record prior to Boris Johnson's claims both in the media and in parliament (the UK's net contributions were one of the things David Cameron tried to get a deal on.

He cannot claim ignorance after the lie was pointed out.

That is different from misspeaking.

edited to add...

The interview in question took place after media coverage of how much of a lie the £350m a week claim was and after Boris Johnson had conceded that it was wrong.

Last edited by The Don; 30th May 2019 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 31st May 2019, 01:55 AM   #40
Ian Osborne
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
The difference is that Obama misspoke once and accepted correction. Boris wrote a lie on the side of a bus and repeated that lie when it was shown to be a lie and he accepted that it was.
Also, Obama's error didn't personally benefit him, while BoJo's lie certainly did.
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