David Cameron delivers searing verdict on Boris Johnson in ITV interview

David Cameron admits he felt ‘naive’ after Michael Gove promised to ‘make one speech and that’s it’ about Brexit only to betray him and become a leading Vote Leave campaigner

  • Ex-PM said successor never argued in favour of Brexit before 2016 campaign
  • Cameron condemned Johnson’s ‘sharp practice’ of suspending Parliament
  • He warned Tories face ‘disaster’ unless Remainer rebels are allowed to return 

brexit countdown_bg
Created with Sketch.

David Cameron has taken aim at his former ally Michael Gove for promising to keep quiet about Brexit only to become one of the most vocal Leave advocates in the referendum campaign in 2016. 

Mr Gove assured the then-PM that he would ‘make one speech and that’s it’ after he came out in favour of Brexit, Mr Cameron revealed today. 

The former Prime Minister told ITV’s Tom Bradby that he believed Mr Gove but admitted he now feels ‘naive’ after the Tory MP instead became a figurehead of the Vote Leave campaign. 

‘My frustration then was, during the campaign, Michael started arguing for things like that 80million Turks were going come and live in Britain,’ Mr Cameron said. 

‘He went from this liberal, modern, compassionate Conservative to something quite different.’  

Mr Cameron, who has resurfaced in British politics as he launches his long-awaited memoirs this week, also delivered a searing verdict on Boris Johnson – claiming the current PM only supported Brexit out of personal ambition. 

The former Prime Minister said Mr Gove had assured him he would ‘make one speech and that’s it’ after he came out in favour of Brexit.  

The former Tory leader said his successor-but-one had never argued in favour of leaving the EU before the referendum campaign in 2016.

He also condemned his ‘sharp practice’ of suspending Parliament in the run-up to the Brexit date – and warned the Tories face ‘disaster’ unless Remainer rebels who were brutally ousted from the party are allowed to return. 

It follows an array of searing attacks on the current prime minister and other senior Brexiteers in extracts from the book that have been released this week.

David Cameron delivered a searing verdict on Boris Johnson in an interview with ITV's Tom Bradby ahead of the publication of his long-awaited memoirs this week

David Cameron delivered a searing verdict on Boris Johnson in an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby ahead of the publication of his long-awaited memoirs this week

During the interview, Mr Cameron condemned Mr Johnson's 'sharp practice' of suspending Parliament in the run-up to the Brexit date

During the interview, Mr Cameron condemned Mr Johnson’s ‘sharp practice’ of suspending Parliament in the run-up to the Brexit date

Mr Cameron sat down with ITV's Tom Bradby (pictured right) for an extended interview

Mr Cameron sat down with ITV’s Tom Bradby (pictured right) for an extended interview

Mr Cameron said he had never heard Mr Johnson argue in favour of cutting ties with Brussels before the referendum.

Guardian apologises for saying David Cameron only suffered ‘privileged pain’ over death of his profoundly disabled son 

The Guardian newspaper was today branded ‘inhumane’ after claiming David Cameron’s wealth and status meant he only suffered ‘privileged pain’ when his disabled son Ivan died aged six.

The former Prime Minister’s new autobiography ‘For The Record’ says that he and his wife Samantha were plunged into ‘darkness’ when their eldest child passed away in 2009.

Mr Cameron revealed that his son suffered near-constant seizures from birth – some lasting hours – before succumbing to organ failure shortly before his seventh birthday.

But in response to his memoirs, the Guardian’s leader column, written by an unnamed senior editor, said today: ‘Mr Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain’.

It added: ‘Had he been trying to get the system to look after a dying parent rather than a dying child, he might have understood a little of the damage that his policies have done’.

‘I spoke to him at length about it and I said, ‘Boris you’ve never been in favour of leaving the EU, so why now there’s a better deal on offer, are you in favour of leaving now,’ Mr Cameron said. 

‘My conclusion is; 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 of Brexit.’ 

Mr Johnson very publicly wavered between supporting Leave and Remain as the crucial national vote loomed in 2016.

Mr Cameron said: ‘Minutes before he went out to explain why he was going to be on the side of Brexit, he sent me a text saying, ”Brexit will be crushed like a toad under the harrow.” 

‘But I can only conclude that… he thought it was going to lose and that’s why he made the choice.’

Mr Cameron was asked about Mr Johnson’s tactics in deciding to prorogue Parliament until October 14, in the face of opposition from Remainer MPs.

Scottish judged ruled last week that the move was illegal, although the English courts decided otherwise. The Supreme Court is due to start hearing arguments tomorrow in a titanic clash. 

Mr Cameron said: ‘I don’t think, it was illegal, 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.  

Mr Cameron said he had never heard Mr Johnson (pictured in Luxembourg today) argue in favour of cutting ties with Brussels before the referendum

Mr Cameron said he had never heard Mr Johnson (pictured in Luxembourg today) argue in favour of cutting ties with Brussels before the referendum

‘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.’ 

David Cameron's autobiography will leave some of the Tory members aghast

David Cameron’s autobiography will leave some of the Tory members aghast

He also slammed Mr Johnson for expelling 21 MPs from the Parliamentary party after they rebelled to back legislation ruling out No Deal. Amber Rudd later resigned from the Cabinet and gave up the whip in solidarity with the mutineers. 

‘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.’ 

Boris Johnson questioned Michael Gove’s mental health calling him ‘a bit cracked’ after being betrayed during 2016 Tory leadership race, David Cameron’s memoirs reveal

Boris Johnson questioned Michael Gove’s mental health and suggested he was ‘a bit cracked’ after the Tory minister betrayed him during the 2016 Tory leadership race, the latest extracts of David Cameron‘s memoirs have revealed. 

Mr Gove famously sabotaged the first Johnson leadership bid in 2016 by launching his own rival campaign, forcing Mr Johnson to pull out. 

According to Mr Cameron, then-Chancellor George Osborne celebrated Mr Gove’s betrayal, saying: ‘We’ve taken Boris out, now on to Port Stanley!,’ a reference to the Falklands War. 

Mr Cameron also worked behind the scenes to help Theresa May win the contest to replace him, the extracts published by The Times reveal.   

The former Prime Minister has already accused both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove of behaving ‘appallingly’ during the referendum campaign. 

Boris Johnson questioned Michael Gove's mental health and suggested he was 'a bit cracked' after the Tory minister turned on him during the 2016 Tory leadership race (they are pictured together that year), the latest extracts of David Cameron's memoirs have revealed

Boris Johnson questioned Michael Gove’s mental health and suggested he was ‘a bit cracked’ after the Tory minister turned on him during the 2016 Tory leadership race (they are pictured together that year), the latest extracts of David Cameron’s memoirs have revealed 

Mr Cameron announced his resignation in June 2016 after captaining the losing side in the referendum, triggering the first Tory leadership contest for 11 years, and the latest extract covers the days and weeks that followed. 

In the hours after the referendum result, Mr Cameron says he was ‘on autopilot’ as he called to congratulate Mr Gove who had been one of the ringleaders of the Vote Leave campaign. 

He also apologised to world leaders including Barack Obama for his failed strategy to keep Britain in Europe.  

Mr Johnson was initially seen as the front-runner to replace him but was forced to quit the race within days after Mr Gove’s entry into the race.   

Mr Gove, who had been helping Mr Johnson’s campaign, dramatically quit his team and said the ex-London mayor could not ‘provide the leadership’ that was needed.   

According to Mr Cameron, Mr Johnson wondered aloud whether former Education Secretary Mr Gove was ‘a bit cracked’. 

Mr Cameron said he could not resist a cheeky dig at Mr Johnson in reply, saying: ‘You should have stuck with me, mate.’ 

The two Brexiteers are now back on the same side but the former PM’s latest revelations will test how far they have patched up relations since 2016.

The former Prime Minister has already accused both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove of behaving 'appallingly' during the referendum campaign (they are pictured the day after polling day)

The former Prime Minister has already accused both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove of behaving ‘appallingly’ during the referendum campaign (they are pictured the day after polling day)

How David Cameron fell for 21-year-old ‘hippy-like art student’ Samantha during ‘blissful week’

David Cameron has revealed intimate details of his marriage to his wife Samantha – from how they met as youngsters to how Theresa May walked in on her having a final dance in the Downing Street kitchen. 

The couple first met when the young Samantha Sheffield was just 17 and grew close on a family holiday organised by Mr Cameron’s father. 

Mr Cameron credits his wife, whom he married in 1996, with turning ‘a pretty traditional Home Counties Tory boy’ into ‘someone a bit more rounded’, the latest extracts published in The Times reveal. 

However, he revealed the couple had frequently argued about how his career would affect their private lives. 

The couple are pictured in 1995, the year before they married

The couple are pictured in 1995, the year before they married

Mr Cameron’s book describes how the young Samantha Sheffield was initially a friend of his sister Clare. 

He recalled being ‘struck’ by Samantha smoking on a sofa and laughing as his sister teased him.  

Clare Cameron invited Samantha on a family holiday to Italy but warned her that ‘I think my brother fancies you’. 

‘I did. And it was a blissful week,’ Mr Cameron recalls.   

At the time she was a 21-year-old art student in Bristol while he was a 25-year-old working as an adviser for the then Tory chancellor Norman Lamont. 

David Cameron is accompanied by his wife as he waves goodbye to Number 10 in 2016

David Cameron is accompanied by his wife as he waves goodbye to Number 10 in 2016 

He said Samantha would grow irritated when Mr Lamont would call up about that day’s papers – suggesting he ‘f*** off and buy them himself’.   

Moving ahead to their final days in Downing Street, Mr Cameron recalls how he had to call his daughter back from a school trip when his departure was brought forward. 

His daughter Nancy asked if the Queen could be persuaded to amend her schedule. 

Mr Cameron said it ‘didn’t feel right’ for him to go back to Downing Street and help pack away after he left office, meaning that Samantha was left to clear up on her own. 

At one point she put on some music and had a ‘final dance around the kitchen’ – at which point the new occupants, Theresa and Philip May, walked in.  

As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Mr Gove is now responsible for no-deal Brexit preparations in Mr Johnson’s Government.  

Mr Gove had previously said he was ‘not equipped’ to be Prime Minister, and Mr Cameron says he had taken those statements to be sincere.  

Theresa May eventually won the race which ended without a full party vote after her last remaining rival, Andrea Leadsom, also pulled out. 

Mrs Leadsom quit the race after a backlash over her comments in an interview about Mrs May not having children.  

Mr Cameron said the comments were almost certainly not malicious but said the row persuaded Mrs Leadsom that she was not ready for the job.  

But Mr Cameron himself also played a role in helping Mrs May win the contest, his memoirs reveal. 

Although he did not back any candidate officially, he ‘secretly encouraged’ his Tory colleague Gavin Williamson to help the May campaign in 2016. 

George Osborne, who was sacked as Chancellor by Mrs May and quit as an MP the following year, is said to have celebrated Mr Johnson’s departure with a cryptic reference to the Falklands War. 

”Now on to Port Stanley!’ he said, meaning it was Michael’s turn to fall next,’ Mr Cameron recalls.  

Mr Osborne had once been seen as a likely Tory leadership contender himself but he and Mr Cameron were both tarnished by the failed Remain campaign in 2016.  

Boris Johnson also complained that ‘people were looking at me as if I was a leper’ after the referendum result which he helped to bring about. 

After declaring for Leave in February that year he became one of the most high-profile Brexit campaigners during the referendum campaign. 

At a summit days after the referendum Jean-Claude Juncker privately promised to ‘make Brexit work’ after Britain voted to leave, but warned that he would have to take a more hardline stance in public, Mr Cameron revealed. 

In a separate extract, Mr Cameron reveals details of his marriage to his wife Samantha, whom he married in 1996. 

He describes how the young Samantha Sheffield was a friend of Mr Cameron’s sister Clare, who invited her friend to a family holiday in southern Italy. 

‘Samantha was invited by Clare, who warned her in advance, ‘Watch out — I think my brother fancies you.’ I did. And it was a blissful week,’ Mr Cameron recalls.   

Mr Cameron was working for then-Chancellor Norman Lamont in the early 1990s and said Samantha would grow irritated when the minister would call up about that day’s papers – suggesting he ‘f*** off and buy them himself’. 

The ex-PM has already confessed that he got ‘off his head’ on dope while at Eton, and said he smoked it later with his wife and her friends. 

In the latest extracts he admits that both he and Samantha started smoking cigarettes again in the stress of the referendum result.   

David Cameron has already taken aim at Boris Johnson (pictured together in 2015) and Michael Gove, accusing them of behaving 'appallingly'

David Cameron has already taken aim at Boris Johnson (pictured together in 2015) and Michael Gove, accusing them of behaving ‘appallingly’ 

David Cameron is accompanied by his wife Samantha as he waves goodbye to Downing Street in 2016

David Cameron is accompanied by his wife Samantha as he waves goodbye to Downing Street in 2016 

Jean-Claude Juncker promised ‘I want to make Brexit work’

Jean-Claude Juncker privately promised to ‘make Brexit work’ after Britain voted to leave, but warned that he would have to take a more hardline stance in public, David Cameron has revealed. 

The European Commission chief tried to reassure the outgoing Mr Cameron at a Brussels summit just days after the EU referendum result in 2016, according to the ex-PM’s new memoirs. 

Mr Juncker, who has lately thwarted the Government’s Brexit plans by insisting that Theresa May’s withdrawal deal cannot be renegotiated, told Mr Cameron back then that ‘I want to try and make this work’, the latest extracts in The Times reveal.  

Mr Cameron and Mr Juncker in June 2016

Mr Cameron and Mr Juncker in June 2016

‘Of course, I’ve got to say “No big deal for Britain”, but I have to say these things to keep the European Parliament happy,’ Mr Juncker added. 

Mr Juncker was ‘sad’ about the result but consoled Mr Cameron that Britain still had Europe’s best Army and ‘huge power in the world,’ the extract reveals.  

The two men’s relationship had started poorly when Mr Cameron tried unsuccessfully to block Mr Juncker from taking the top job in 2014. 

Mr Cameron had warned that Mr Juncker’s ‘backroom’ appointment would make British voters more likely to back Brexit.  

At the same summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that Britain could not have got better terms when Mr Cameron tried to negotiate with Brussels. 

Mr Cameron had tied his referendum pledge to a plan to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU. 

The UK was granted an exemption from the EU’s founding goal of ‘ever closer union’ and there were small concessions on immigration. 

However, Brexiteers dismissed the renegotiation as a failure and Mr Cameron’s gamble failed as Britons nonetheless voted to leave.   

Yesterday Mr Cameron faced a backlash from the current crop of Tory politicians after taking aim at Mr Johnson in his memoirs. 

In one of the most controversial passages published so far, Mr Cameron claimed that the now-prime minister wanted to become the ‘darling of the party’ and ‘didn’t want to risk allowing someone else with a high profile – Michael Gove in particular – to win that crown’. 

‘The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career,’ he added.

Mr Cameron has also taken aim at leading Brexiteers including Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and Dominic Cummings – now ensconced in Number 10 as a senior adviser – branding them a ‘cauldron of toxicity’. 

He reserved particular criticism for Priti Patel, accusing her of using ‘every announcement, interview and speech’ to ‘hammer’ the government’s approach to immigration, even though she was in it.  

Ms Patel, 47, appointed Home Secretary by Mr Johnson in July, refused to rise to the bait yesterday, coldly telling the former PM that ‘There is no point in going over the past’.  

Asked about the criticism on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show she said she had ‘enjoyed’ working with Mr Cameron.

‘Obviously the referendum has happened, we have moved on and the fact of the matter is we are now working to deliver that referendum mandate,’ she said. 

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay also tore into the ex-PM, telling the BBC ‘obviously when there’s a book to sell there’s always excerpts that come from it’. 

Among a string of revelations in his memoirs, Mr Cameron said he was ‘delighted’ when the Queen stepped into the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. 

The monarch told a member of the public to Scots to ‘think very carefully’ about how they would vote, just a week before the September 2014 poll. 

It was widely seen as a boost for the unionist campaign which was emphasising the risks of independence.  

The No campaign went on to win the vote 55 per cent to 45 per cent. 

Launching the memoir, For The Record, Mr Cameron said he had ‘kept relatively quiet about politics’ since leaving Downing Street in 2016. 

‘But I think it’s right former PMs write their memoirs, to explain what they did and why,’ he explained. The book is published on Thursday. 

 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Distinct Today is a news media company, focused on the intersection between hyper-relevant content and digital innovation. Distinct Today curates editorial news content, experiences, and events across multiple platforms including email, mobile, online and offline. Distinct Today is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company is privately held. Distinct Today targets an affluent, college-educated audience.