Former PM's memoirs

Cameron breaks silence to take swipe at Johnson’s EU plans

David Cameron annual conf

David Cameron: worrying over Britain’s future

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has emerged from political exile to challenge the strategy of his fellow Old Etonian Boris Johnson.

In an explosive interview ahead of his autobiography being published this weekend, Mr Cameron says that he worries ‘every day’ about leaving the European Union and that he regrets elements of the build up to the 2016 referendum which he triggered.

He says: ‘Taking the whip from hard-working Conservative MPs and sharp practices using prorogation of Parliament have rebounded. I didn’t support either of those things. Neither do I think a no-deal Brexit is a good idea.”

He accused Mr Johnson, and Brexit leader Michael Gove of behaving “appallingly” during the referendum campaign, adding: “It turned into this terrible Tory psychodrama and I couldn’t seem to get through.” 

Mr Cameron said the result had left him “hugely depressed” and he knew “some people will never forgive me”. He also said another referendum cannot be ruled out “because we’re stuck”.

He defended his decision to call the vote, saying the issue of the EU “needed to be addressed” and that the vote was “inevitable”, a claim that some dispute, arguing that he should have stood up to UKIP.

He said: “Every single day I think about it, the referendum and the fact that we lost and the consequences and the things that could have been done differently, and I worry desperately about what is going to happen next.

“It’s painful for the country and it’s painful to watch.”

Mr Cameron, whose political career ended when Britain voted against his wish for the country to remain in the EU, is expected to reveal in his memoirs that he tried in vain to persuade Mr Johnson to do the same.

The pair both went to Oxford and the current occupant of Number Ten is said to be relaxed about the book and has offered unwavering admiration for his friend and predecessor.

However, the timing of its publication at a time of enormous sensitivity for Mr Johnson could add another twist to an extraordinary few weeks in British politics. Despite Mr Johnson shrugging aside any criticisms it may contain, his Downing Street advisers are said to be nervous about what could emerge.

Mr Cameron is said to have received £800,000 for the book, which he wrote partly in a hut installed in the back garden of his home in the Cotswolds.

Mr Johnson found himself heckled by members of the public during a visit to South Yorkshire. One man in Rotherham said he should have been dealing with Brexit while a woman in Doncaster said the town had suffered from his austerity policies.

However, a number of local also shook his hand and asked for selfies in a sign of how Brexit was now dividing voters rather than party loyalties.

See also:

Johnson cautiously optimistic ahead of meeting with EU president as Wetherspoons boss predicts partying in the streets on October 31

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