Saturday 14 September 2019 9:14 am

David Cameron criticises 'appalling' behaviour of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove during Brexit campaign

David Cameron has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Michael Gove of behaving “appallingly” during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

Speaking to the Times ahead of the release of his memoir, Cameron criticised the prominent figures of the Leave campaign and other Tory members for “trashing the government”.

“Over the issue of whether or not we had a veto over Turkey [accession to the EU] and over the issue of the £350m on the bus, I think they left the truth at home,” Cameron said.

Read more: Johnson says he won’t be deterred from Brexit on 31 October


As well as criticising Johnson and Gove, Cameron was equally unimpressed by claims made by Penny Mordaunt and Priti Patel, particurarly with regards to immigration.

He said: “Boris had never argued for leaving the EU, right? 

“Michael was a very strong Eurosceptic, but someone whom I’d known as this liberal, compassionate, rational Conservative ended up making arguments about Turkey [joining the EU] and [the UK] being swamped and what have you.”

Mordaunt made a similar argument about Turkey, while current home secretary Patel claimed that “wealthy people didn’t understand the problems of immigration”. Both of which Cameron labelled as “ridiculous” and “just not true”.

He added: “I suppose some people would say all is fair in love and war and political campaigns. I thought there were places Conservatives wouldn’t go against each other. And they did.”

He revealed that the outcome of the referendum, which resulted in him stepping down as Prime Minister just hours after, had left him “hugely depressed”.

Cameron also accepted that “some people will never forgive me”, but maintained he has no regrets about holding the vote.


“But on the central question of whether it was right to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and give people the chance to have their say on it, my view remains that this was the right approach to take,” said Cameron.

“I believe that, particularly with the eurozone crisis, the organisation was changing before our very eyes, and our already precarious place in it was becoming harder to sustain.”

Cameron campaigned for Remain, but lost the vote by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

When asked about how challenging life had been since, he said: “I think about this every day.

“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.

“I think we can get to a situation where we leave but we are friends, neighbours and partners. We can get there, but I would love to fast-forward to that moment because it’s painful for the country and it’s painful to watch.”

Read more: Boris Johnson to meet Jean-Claude Juncker for face-to-face for first time

Cameron was also critical of the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks, suggesting that although he wanted “his plan to succeed” it had “morphed into something quite different”.

He said: “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.”

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