Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Cameron: I did not ask the Queen to do ‘anything improper’

The former PM admitted he sought support from the Queen during the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

David Cameron with the Queen (Chris Jackson/PA)
David Cameron with the Queen (Chris Jackson/PA)

By Josh Thomas, PA Parliamentary Staff

David Cameron has insisted he did not ask the Queen to do “anything improper” during the referendum on Scottish independence, but admits talking about her “purring down the line” to him had been a “terrible mistake”.

The former prime minister told the BBC he had sought support from the Queen during the referendum campaign after a poll predicting a Yes victory “panicked” him.

Mr Cameron made contact with Buckingham Palace officials in 2014, suggesting the monarch could “raise an eyebrow” in the close-fought campaign.

A few days before the referendum in September 2014, the Queen told a well-wisher in Aberdeenshire that she hoped “people would think very carefully about the future”.

The comment was seized on by many pro-union campaigners as an indication that the Queen was urging voters to keep the UK together.

The former Tory prime minister has now hinted he may have revealed “too much” about his interactions with the Queen, but stressed he had not asked her to say or do anything improper.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t want to say anything more about this, I’m sure some people would think it may possibly even be that I have already said perhaps a little bit too much.”

David Cameron with Boris Johnson (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He said remarks he made at the time that the Queen had been “purring down the line” to him after the No result had been a “terrible mistake” for which he apologised immediately.

In an interview with John Humphrys – during the presenter’s last appearance on the Today programme – Mr Cameron also defended his decision to call the 2016 EU referendum, saying he had “honest” motives.

He said there had been “growing problems” with the EU and there was a growing appetite for a referendum in the UK.

The former PM acknowledged he had failed to improve the situation but denied being complacent, saying he takes a “big share of responsibility” for what has happened since.

He said: “If you’re asking me do I accept a big share of the blame for the difficulties that we face in our country, do I think about it every day, does it pain me enormously to see our politics frozen and our society divided, yes it does. And I do take my share of responsibility for that.”

Mr Cameron told the Today programme he had had to step down following the UK’s decision to leave the EU because he would not have been the person to deliver Brexit having campaigned for Remain.

Mr Cameron said he had not wanted to resign so quickly after the referendum and “hated” giving the impression he was running away.

He said he would have “lacked the credibility” a prime minister needs and felt the need to step aside quickly.

He put what was good for his political career ahead of what he actually thought was good for the country David Cameron on Boris Johnson

According to Mr Cameron, Boris Johnson put his own political career before the national interest when he chose to back Brexit during the referendum.

Interviewed for the Cameron Years for the BBC, the ex-PM said: “By fighting for Leave he was taking the romantic, nationalist, Conservative course, he’d look like a hero, and I don’t think he expected for one minute they were going to win.

“In the end, I think, ultimately, he put what was good for his political career ahead of what he actually thought was good for the country.”

Mr Cameron also suggested Britain has not left the EU yet because Theresa May ignored his advice on Brexit.

He told The Times Red Box podcast he had advised Mrs May to pursue a “soft Brexit” modelled on Norway, but she ignored him.



From Belfast Telegraph