BORIS Johnson is set to be hauled to court over claims he lied in the EU referendum campaign, it emerged today.
A judge ruled the top Brexiter should be summonsed to face accusations of misconduct in public office.
The case comes after a Remain campaigner launched a private prosecution against him.
Boris has dismissed the prosecution as a "political stunt" designed to boost the campaign to overturn Brexit.
It raises the prospect he could have to appear in court in the middle of the race to become the next Prime Minister in which he is the frontrunner.
Mr Johnson is accused of misleading the public when he said leaving the EU would save Britain £350million a week.
The controversial stat was central to the Leave campaign pitch in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.
Pro-EU activist Marcus Ball, 29, claims Boris' use of the figure counts as misconduct in public office and has raised £200,000 through online crowdfunding.
He said Mr Johnson "repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership".
Mr Ball concluded: "The law dictates that misconduct to such a degree requires a criminal sanction. There is no justification or excuse for such misconduct."
Lawyer for Boris hit back: "The application is a (political) stunt. Its true purpose is not that it should succeed, but that it should be made at all. And made with as much public fanfare as the prosecution can engender.
"The application represents an attempt, for the first time in English legal history, to employ the criminal law to regulate the content and quality of political debate. That is self-evidently not the function of the criminal law."
Today district judge Margot Coleman ruled that Mr Johnson should appear in crown court to face the charges – although she didn't rule on whether or not the claims of misconduct are credible.
Brexiteers hit out at the decision and warned the legal system was being exploited for political gain.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said: "The court should not be used for obviously political purposes, it is an abuse of legal procedure."
MP Tom Pursglove added: "What an absolute nonsense."
But Lib Dem Ed Davey, who is vying to the pro-EU party's next leader, said: "Given Boris Johnson wants to be the next Prime Minister of this country, it's only right that he is held accountable for the lies he told in 2016."
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