Former British prime minister David Cameron has said while he does not regret calling the EU referendum in 2016, he does feel some responsibility for “the state the country has got into” since the vote.
In his first in-depth television interview about his time in office – which will be broadcast on ITV on Monday at 8pm – Mr Cameron told Tom Bradby the referendum haunts him and he thinks about it every day, but insisted holding it was the “right thing to do”.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the legality of proroguing Parliament – after Scotland’s highest civil court ruled it was ‘unlawful’ – Mr Cameron said he thinks the PM, Boris Johnson, acted within the law.
He however added the decision to suspend Parliament was a “mistake” and “probably counterproductive”, but said it was for the courts to decide if it was legal.
He also said “taking the whip away from 21 incredibly hard-working, loyal Conservatives” was a “bad decision” and said if it isn’t reversed it will become a “disastrous decision”.
“Do I have regrets? Yes,” he said. “Am I sorry about the state the country’s got into? Yes. Do I feel I have some responsibility for that? Yes. It was my referendum; my campaign; my decision to try and renegotiate.”
“And I accept all of those things and people, including those watching this programme, will have to decide how much blame to put on me.”
He claimed Mr Johnson’s support of Leave in the EU referendum was disingenuous, saying: “He thought that the Brexit vote would be lost but he didn’t want to give up the chance of being on the romantic, patriotic, nationalistic side.”
The former prime minister said Mr Johnson texted him shortly before declaring his Brexit stance to the public, saying: “Brexit will be crushed like a toad under the harrow.”
On the division in the country around Brexit, Mr Cameron said: “I regret hugely where we have come to and I take my share of responsibility for that.”