Stop Lying In Politics (Marcus J Ball & team)

by MarcusJBall in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 31st March 2020 we successfully raised £56,062 with 1815 supporters in 102 days

To set a new legal precedent against lying in politics with a second court action following our prosection of PM Boris Johnson last year.

by MarcusJBall in London, England, United Kingdom

Please note:

Due to the current health crisis, this page will be closing.  

It is vital that lying in politics is challenged and the public are protected from false statements by politicians around the world. Our health depends upon it.

However, it is simply not practical to launch legal actions at this point. The courts are not functioning at full capacity and there is a great deal of uncertainty. It is not the appropriate time.

We will be holding back that part of our work until the situation regarding the Coronvirus pandemic is clearer.

Kind regards to all of you and stay safe,

Marcus J Ball & the team

Stop Lying In Politics ltd. 

Join us in our second attempt to set a legal precedent against lying in politics.

We prosecuted Boris Johnson for lying based misconduct in public office last year. We won the first stage and the order was given for a full criminal trial. But then our case was suddenly blocked. This year, we’re going to try to a set a precedent again because we believe we know how to stop a new case from being blocked.

Non-partisan

Not for profit

Social Enterprise

Stop Lying In Politics Ltd. is a UK, non-partisan, not for profit organisation which is dedicated to protecting the public from lying in politics. We exist to set a precedent against lying in politics in the English common law, making it illegal for any politician to lie to the public. Influencing English common law jurisdictions around the world.

 Freedom of political speech is a vital pillar of a democratic society that must always be protected but it does not extend to dishonest statements. Outright lying about public spending, the reasons for going to war and other matters of national interest should not be permitted under the law.

 We investigate elected representatives on a cross-party basis. Our prosecution targets are chosen based upon the strength of evidence against them and the public trust invested in their public offices.

Our achievements so far 

  • International common law history made:

Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled in our favour that Boris Johnson must face a full crown court criminal trial for abusing his power of influence(for lying to the public about the £350 million claim). This was the first summons precedent against dishonest public spending claims made by an elected representative in global common law history. An excellent first step.

  • High Court judge held to account:

After an investigation, we discovered that the judge who had shut down our case against ex-Mayor Boris Johnson had previously worked as one of the Mayor's lawyers for an undisclosed payment of £35,500. Our subsequent complaint concerning undisclosed apparent bias to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office made national press. 

  • Worldwide press coverage:

We're getting the world talking about the legality of lying in politics! Major international news platforms from BBC Worldwide to CNN, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg and Reuters have all covered our efforts to make lying in politics illegal. We've even hit Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Columbian, and South African national news. 

  • 15,000 + brave crowdfund backers:

People are crowdfunding our work and backing our cause from all over the world! We have over 15,000 unique individual backers across 5 different crowdfunds. The vast majority of our backers are from the UK but we also have a lot from the US and beyond.


Equality under the law

Equality under the law is a vital cornerstone of any healthy system of justice. It means that no matter who you are, you are held to account under the same laws as other people with the same legal responsibilities as you.

The Speechley case, the Wallis case and R V Cosford involved a public office holding elected counselor, police officer, and a prison officer. All three were given prison sentences based upon the damage they had caused to public trust by lying about matters of public importance, in abuse of their duties.

If other public office holders can go to prison for lying then so can a Member of Parliament, a Minister or a Prime Minister. Because all are equal under the law. How famous, powerful or wealthy they are is legally irrelevant.

Protecting freedom of speech

"The right to freedom of expression under Article 10 does not extend to a right to be dishonest and tell lies…"

-R V Woolas 2015

Meaning that a prosecution against lying in politics would not infringe upon the vital human right of freedom of expression.

Politicians need to be able to state their aspirations, predictions, and promises in order to do their jobs. But, these actions are very different from outright lying, which are knowingly false statements of fact intended to deceive.

Enabling Public trust in democratic systems 

Democracy can only survive when ordinary men and women have faith in the integrity of those whose responsibility is the preservation of integrity of Parliament in all its workings’

-R v Jackson (1988)

 

Public trust is abused when a jury decides that elected representatives have lied to the public in abuse of their duties. Examples may include serious and not trivial, repeated dishonest statements about:

  • Spending of the public purse
  • Public health issues such as COVID-19 
  • The reasons for starting a war
  • Executive decision making
  • Matters of great public interest

Politicians keep lying to us about really important things and we haven't worked out how to protect the public from them yet. The public's trust in our democratic systems cannot be maintained until we have established that such actions are illegal.


Holding judges to account to preserve public trust in the judicial system

Westminster Magistrates' Court spent over three months carefully reviewing our first prosecution case against Boris Johnson. They carried out two hearings and considered three written arguments and several email exchanges. In contrast, the High Court's own ruling and court transcripts reveal that they didn't reference our main legal argument and did not read our case research. They shut the case down after having the papers for around three days and they carried out just one hearing. They also dismissed our appeal application with an email simply stating 'no', 'no', no'. This conduct greatly concerned Marcus and the team so he set out to investigate. What he discovered has been summarised in this video above.


Objectives

  • Public communications campaign:
    Clearly communicate our mission and aims to our backers and the general public. It is vital that people understand the motivations behind our work.
  • Prosecute a second criminal case or launch a civil action against lying in politics 

We must achieve a legal precedent against lying in politics. After learning from the Johnson prosecution case we will launch a new action. 

  • Raise the funding required to achieve this 

We must raise more in crowdfunding to fund these objectives, keep the team going and pay off existing court debts. 

Finances 

  • £700,000+ 

Money raised so far from 5 different crowdfunds over 3.5 years (See the Crowdfunder.co.uk projects here)

  • Legal fees and communications 

The vast majority of funds raised have been spent on legal fees so far, with communications costs coming in second.

  • £251,000 

This is the amount that Stop Lying In Politics and its founder, Marcus J Ball, currently owe in court costs. We must settle these before we go back to court.

Stop Lying In Politics also crowdfunds to pay for Marcus and his team's financial upkeep(around minimum wage per hour). You can read about how much money we spend specifically on our tax returns, the full company accounts are included here(we have no legal obligation to publish these but we choose to anyway for transparency):

Company Accounts 2016-2017-read

Company Accounts 2017-2018-read

  • Team upkeep 


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