David Cameron left Downing Street today after listing the achievements he wanted to be remembered for and thanking his wife Samantha – ‘the love of my life’ – for her support during his six years as Prime Minister.
Mr Cameron listed progress on the economy, same-sex marriage and improving the lives of children at home and abroad among his proudest achievements.
He mentioned the gains made by “hard-working families”, such as the “first ever” national living wage, the commitment to overseas aid, the health service and bolstering the nation’s defences.
“There can be no doubt that our economy is immeasurably stronger,” he said in a final address to the media outside 10 Downing Street.
“I want to thank everyone who has given so much support to me personally over these years,” he said, noting specifically the “incredible team at Number 10” and the civiil service whose “professionalism and impartiality is one of our country’s greatest strengths.”
“I want to thank my children… for whom Downing Street has been a lovely home,” he said, describing how daughter Florence once climbed in to one of his red boxes before a foreign trip, asking him to take her with him.
“Well, no more boxes,” he said.
He paid tribute to “the love of my life”, his wife Samantha. He said she had kept him “vaguely sane”, adding that as well as being an “amazing wife, mother and businesswoman” she had been involved in voluntary service.
He praised his successor Theresa May, saying she would provide strong and stable leadership.
He welcomed only the second woman to rise to the top office in government and he “wished her well” in negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“It has been the honour of my life to serve my country this last six years,” he said. “My only wish is for continued success for this great country that I love so much.”
Earlier in the Commons he swapped jokes with fellow MPs and in a good-natured exchange with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn he said the under-pressure leader of the Opposition reminded him of the knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who keeps getting kicked but gets back up again.
One back bench MP said that if Mr Cameron was looking for another there were other vacancies he could pursue, such as manager of the England football team, and chief presenter of the BBC show Top Gear.
On a more serious note, Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP MPs, wished Mr Cameron and his family well but said the nationalists would not be applauding after he took the country to the brink of leaving the EU.
He added that one of Mrs May’s first tasks would be to impose Trident “against the will of almost every single MP from Scotland”.
Aside from Mr Cameron’s handover of power, Labour was still in a state of turmoil.
Ex-shadow Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Owen Smith confirmed he will stand against Mr Corbyn and Angela Eagle who declared her intention to contest the role on Monday.
Labour’s ruling executive last night ruled that Mr Corbyn should automatically be in the contest.