Book exposes Cameron’s Brexit fury

Book exposes Cameron’s Brexit fury

David Cameron and US President Barack Obama in 2013. Source: Wikimedia

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron felt “badly let down” by his successor Theresa May during the EU referendum campaign, his former director of communications has revealed.

Sir Craig Oliver said the then interior minister failed to back the Remain campaign 13 times and was seen as “an enemy agent” by some aides.  The claims are made in a book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story Of Brexit, which is being serialised in the Mail on Sunday.

He also said prominent Leave campaigner Boris Johnson believed the Brexit vote would be “crushed”. Oliver says Johnson “flip-flopped” between Leave and Remain and he called Michael Gove a “political suicide bomber”, who had promised Cameron that he would stay loyal at a family gathering at the prime ministerial residence Chequers at Christmas.

Oliver says Johnson sent conflicting text messages to Cameron the day before he came out for Leave. “I ask DC [David Cameron] what makes him so sure Boris is wobbling. He reads out some parts of the text, including the phrase ‘depression is setting in’, followed by a clear sense that he’s reconsidering. Neither of us is left in any doubt,” Oliver wrote.

“I am struck by two things: Boris is genuinely in turmoil, flip-flopping within a matter of hours; and his cavalier approach.”

Oliver argues that Cameron briefly considered staying on as prime minister, despite losing the June 23 referendum but decided that staying on would amount to “being prepared for the slaughterhouse”.

Oliver writes that May only came “off the fence” in favour of Remain after Cameron became “visibly wound up” and gave her a dressing down over the telephone.

“Amid the murder and betrayal of the campaign, one figure stayed very still at the centre of it all: Theresa May. Now she is the last one standing,” he wrote.

May was referred to dismissively by government aides as “submarine May” during the campaign. May’s “sphinx-like approach” caused trouble as journalists questioning which side she would join. The former spin-doctor warned Cameron faced “last-minute opposition” from May to his deal for EU reform.

“DC is visibly wound up by the report. Suddenly he picks up his mobile and calls May, asking her to make clear we have been victorious in our plan to crack down on ‘swindlers and fiddlers’ attempting to come into the UK,” Oliver wrote. “When he hangs up he seems to think he’s made an impact. Later the home secretary issues a statement saying she believes there’s ‘the basis for a deal here’.”

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