A British man has launched a crowdfunding operation to prosecute the politicians that lied during the Brexit referendum campaign. While his chances of success may be small, he has no shortage of popular support. EurActiv’s partner La Tribune reports.
Civil society is taking on the UK’s lying politicians. Marcus Ball’s #Brexitjustice crowdfunding campaign has raised £145,000 (€165,000) to take legal action against politicians that lied to the British public during the Brexit referendum campaign, according to Business Insider.
Ball told the website he intended to use the donations to hire a team of lawyers to “prosecute Vote Leave leaders based upon fraud, misconduct in public office, undue influence and, possibly, inciting racial hatred”.
The list of personalities targeted by the project include Boris Johnson, the current foreign secretary and former mayor of London, and the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Some members of the Vote Leave camp had claimed that the UK would be some £350 million (€400m) per week better off if it left the EU. They even tried to convince the public that this money would be spent on the National Health Service (NHS), instead of being sent to Brussels.
But just hours after the vote, Farage washed his hands of all responsibility for this promise. He told the presenters of the TV show Good Morning Britain that there was no way to ensure this money was spent on the NHS and that the Vote Leave campaign had made “a mistake”.
The figure of £350m per week was also shown to be grossly exaggerated, with the real figure closer to £136m.
Targeting both camps
A passionate upholder of higher education, politics and start-up businesses, Ball now has a team of lawyers behind him and is preparing to start prosecuting dishonest politicians. And not just those from the Brexit camp: he also intends to punish those from the Remain side who lied to the public.
“If Brexit Justice is really about truth in politics then we need to investigate dishonesty on both sides of the political divide. If we can build strong cases against political leaders from both Leave and Remain camps then we will prosecute both the Leave and Remain camp,” said Ball.
“I came to my solicitors and told them of my intention to investigate both sides and they have advised me that this is a far better way forward. It will strengthen our case before the courts,” he added.
The case will be handled by London law firm Edmonds Marshall McMahon and led by Andrew Marshall, a lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience. He has previously led lawsuits against Shell, Rolls Royce and London Luton Airport.
Civil society fighting for the truth
More than 5,000 people have donated to the campaign, including ten individuals who have given more than £1,000 each. And this is still just the beginning.
Ball said he thinks he will need much more money if the campaign is to be successful. “At this time I believe that £2,000,000 is the minimum required to give us a fighting chance, whilst at the same time being an achievable goal. I will be calling on a combination of crowdfunding and backing from companies and wealthy individuals. We’re going up against millionaires, this is going to be hard.”
While there is no guarantee that this campaign will achieve its objective, this type of civil society action may well succeed where the British media failed, by holding politicians to account for their lies.