A crowdfunding project which wants to raise £100,000 ($131,184) to take politicians who campaigned for a Brexit to court has already raised well over that amount — and there are still 10 days left for people to donate.
Marcus J Ball, the founder of the #BrexitJustice campaign, set up the project in order to raise enough money to “prosecute Vote Leave leaders based upon fraud, misconduct in public office, undue influence and, possibly, inciting racial hatred,” according to the campaign page.
The project had received a total of £124,910 in donations as of the time of writing.
This means it could come close to reaching the £250,000 sum Ball says would put the campaign in a really strong position to launch legal action against politicians like foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
“I would love for us to reach £250,000. I really hope we do. But I’m not 100% confident that we will,” said Ball to Business Insider on Tuesday.
The campaign will use the funds to pay a handful of barristers and solicitors, who Ball claims have already agreed to work with the campaign, to prosecute various Leave campaigners for being dishonest during the campaign for Britain to leave the EU prior to the June 23 referendum.
Below is the #BrexitJustice action plan.
“The dream scenario would be a series of Leave politicians being prosecuted for undue influence and misconduct in public office; Vote Leave Ltd being prosecuted for fraud; prison sentences for politicians who have lied to the public; and a second referendum, but this time with strict rules regarding the honesty of politicians,” said Ball.
“In a real dream case scenario. Parliament passing a new law that politicians can never lie to the people.”
At the very least, Ball hopes the campaign will prevent the government from triggering Article 50 without receiving parliamentary permission. Prime Minister Theresa May does not intend to invoke Article 50 this year, according to The Guardian.
At least 9 people have given £1,000 or more to the campaign, according to the #BrexitJustice web page, and celebrities have lent their support, including Sir Alan Sugar and pop star Paloma Faith. “We’ve had some anonymous people pledging quite large amounts of money. We’ve had retweets from various actors as well, which is nice.”
The Leave campaign was heavily criticised by fact-checking groups for making contentious claims, such as leaving the 28-nation bloc would save Britain £350 million a week. However, Remain politicians were accused of dishonesty too. For example, the government’s claim that a Brexit would leave each family £4,300 worse off was based on a false calculation.
Ball recognises this and reassured us that Remain politicians would not be let off the hook. “If we raised enough money and we managed to get several of the Leave politicians prosecuted then we will hope to go after some Remain politicians as well. But that’s a long-term plan.
“I am very much pro-Remain but I am aware that there were things said by Remain politicians that weren’t true as well.”
Watch Marcus talking about the campaign in the clip below.
Tom Slater, who heads the “Invoke Article 50 Now!” campaign, criticised Ball for underestimating the intelligence of the public. He told the Independent: “As for the campaign’s suggestion that Leave voters were duped by the “lies” of the Leave campaign, it just shows how stupid people like Marcus Ball think the British public is.
“For the sake of democracy, we must all resist these snobby, anti-democratic schemes.”
Ball told BI that as successful as the campaign has been so far, it also received a lot of heavy criticism.
“Yes, quite a lot of abuse,” he said.
“Thankfully, I am protected from most of it because I don’t run the Twitter page. A volunteer called Jennifer is responsible for that and she has been working incredibly hard. She has shielded from all of the abuse. I’ve had messages on YouTube and over email but no death threats yet. But, yes, some pretty negative stuff.”
He told BI that he believes the #BrexitJustice campaign could spark an international movement to tackle dishonesty in politics.
“It would change the game of politics in this country. It would be a wonderful thing. Other countries may watch what we have done and realise that they don’t have to put up with politicians lying to them.
“I have to make it clear that we are making no promises at all. It is going to be very difficult and we need all backers to understand that this is going to be a huge challenge. We can’t guarantee success, but we can guarantee that we will try our hardest.”
If the campaign is successful in bringing about legal action, Ball will act as the claimant on behalf of the backers.
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