Cameron says Brexit vote still haunts him in major TV interview since resignation

David Cameron is interviewed by Tom Bradby for ITV News. Photograph: ITV.

David Cameron is interviewed by Tom Bradby for ITV News. Photograph: ITV. - Credit: Archant

Former prime minister has apologised for what his decision to hold an EU referendum sparked in his first major television interview since his resignation.

As part of The Cameron Interview on ITV, the ex-Tory leader was asked if the decision to call the referendum haunted him.

He replied: "Yeah, of course. You know, this is a huge decision for our country and I think we've taken the wrong path. As I've said, it can be made to work.

"If you're asking me, do I have regrets? Yes. 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 to renegotiate.

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"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."

Asked if he would apologise to the country for his actions, Mr Cameron said: "I'm deeply sorry about all that's happened.

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"There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about all the decisions I made and all that has followed.

"But when I go back to that decision, that Britain's position needed to be sorted and we needed a renegotiation and a referendum, I believed then that was the right approach."

Asked if he had any regrets, Mr Cameron said: "I have huge regrets. I regret that we lost the campaign. I regret I let expectations about the negotiation run far too high.

"I regret some of the individual decisions we made in the campaign. I think perhaps there's a case to say the timing could have been different."

Cameron also said he believed Boris Johnson was wrong to prorogue parliament for five weeks.

He said: "It looked to me, from the outside, like rather sharp practice of trying to restrict the debate and I thought it was actually from his point of view probably counterproductive.

"In the end, we have to work through parliament, and you can't deny the arithmetic of parliament and the majorities there are in parliament."

The former Tory leader also said he thinks the 21 Tory MPs who lost the whip after voting against the government in a key Brexit vote last month should be offered a way back into the fold.

He added: "I obviously disagree with the idea of taking away the whip from 21 hard-working, loyal Conservatives.

"I think that was a bad decision, if it isn't reversed, it will be I think a disastrous decision.

"I hope that Boris will get a deal in Brussels, he will come back, try and bring parliament together to back that deal - I don't see why those 21 people shouldn't be restored to the Conservative whip.

"If they're not, I really worry about what could happen."

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