Boris Johnson’s lawyers told the high court that a case alleging the former foreign secretary lied during the 2016 Brexit campaign should be thrown out.
Last month a judge ruled that Johnson must appear in court to face accusations of misconduct while in public office.
The case states that Johnson’s claim that the UK sent the EU £350m a week was a lie. In the run up to the referendum the figure was famously plastered on the side of a Leave campaign bus.
Leave won the referendum with 52 per cent of the vote compared to 48 per cent who voted to remain in the EU.
Johnson is currently favourite to become the next Conservative Party leader, and therefore the new prime minister.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is denied by the claimant that he acted in any way improperly or dishonestly. Public debate about the accuracy or otherwise of the £350m continues to this day,” Johnson’s lawyers said in a court document.
Adrian Darbishire, Johnson’s lawyer, said the case was politically motivated. He added that the original judge at Westminster Magistrate Court should not have let the case go ahead.
Campaigner Marcus Ball brought the case against Johnson in a private prosecution and crowdfunded £200,000 to launch proceedings.
Ball claimed that Johnson “repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership.”
“Lying on a national and international platform undermines public confidence in politics, undermines the integrity of public referendums and brings both public offices held by the (proposed) defendant into disrepute,” he said.