David Cameron has sympathised with Theresa May about the ‘difficult and painful’ decision to stand down as prime minister.
He paid tribute to May, saying she had made the right decision, and recalled his own decision to stand down after the June 2016 referendum.
“Theresa is right that compromise is not a dirty word and she should be thanked for her tireless efforts on behalf of the country,” he said in a statement.
“I know how painful it is to accept that your time is up and a new leader is required. She has made the right decision – and I hope that the spirit of compromise is continued.”
Speaking later in Oxfordshire, where was previously an MP, he added: “I know what it feels like when you come to realise that your leadership time has finished, that the country needs a new leader.
“It is extremely difficult and painful to step outside of Downing Street and say those things. This will be a very difficult day.”
It is nearly three years since Cameron himself stood down after the shock referendum result, in a move that quickly catapulted May into the prime ministerial role.
When resigning he said: “I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”
Despite this, the divisions of the Brexit process started by his decision to hold a referendum have become more and more difficult to overcome.
Theresa May, who ditched her fourth attempt to put a version of her Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the commons before resigning, has been unable to forge a deal that will satisfy the wide extremes in her party and in parliament.
However, the EU has reminded the UK that the next leader faces exactly the same quandary.
READ: EU: Nothing has changed for the Brexit deal impasse since Theresa May’s resignationThe status of the Withdrawal Agreement remains exactly the same as before and the EU has repeatedly stated that it will not reopen its legal text.