Britain's (likely) next PM is being sent to trial for... lying?

Say it ain’t so, Joe!

As the departure of British Prime Minister Theresa May draws near, the race is on to see who will replace her at 10 Downing Street. Well… in reality, it’s probably not so much of a “race” as a reality show because nobody with the sense God gave a goat wants the job right about now. But there’s a growing consensus that it might wind up being former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. This is great news, at least if you’re a blogger looking for funny stories to write about because Boris is something of a gaffe machine.

His prospects may be a bit more limited after this week, however. A surprising headline popped up in the British media yesterday, claiming that a judge has ordered Boris to go to trial on three counts of lying. Wait… a politician telling a lie? It seems that’s illegal in the UK. (Reuters)

A British judge has ordered that Boris Johnson, the favorite to replace Theresa May as prime minister, must attend court to answer a private summons for allegations he lied to the public over Brexit.

“Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted,” District Judge Margot Coleman said in a written ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

“This means the proposed defendant will be required to attend this court for a preliminary hearing, and the case will then be sent to the Crown Court for trial.”

The offenses in question all involve speeches he gave during the runup to the Brexit referendum in 2016. His is quoted as having said that the cost of EU membership was 350 million pounds ($442 million) per week. Since that figure was widely tossed around during the campaign, it’s being alleged that the dubious figure might constitute a “breach of duty” under a really vague law governing the conduct of elected officials.

For his part, Johnson’s spokesperson is describing the suit as a political stunt and not something that can be proven. I suppose the Crown Court will eventually decide that. But even if convicted, he’s unlikely to go to jail and it wouldn’t prevent him standing for the Prime Minister’s office anyway. And since the Brits are quite familiar with Johnson’s history, it’s tough to imagine they’ll do much more than shrug their shoulders over “Boris being Boris.”

Here’s one interesting fact you might not know. If Johnson does somehow become the PM he will be the first American Prime Minister of Britain. Boris was born in New York City and holds both American and British citizenship. (In theory, if he moved back to New York he could run for President.)

He also has a rich history of humorous quotes. One particularly applicable one given the current circumstances was, “My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.”

Here are a couple more to close out this article.

“The dreadful truth is that when people come to see their [Member of Parliament] they have run out of better ideas.”

“My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.”