Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

David Cameron: Boris Johnson privately agreed second Brexit referendum was possible

Former prime minister tries to settle record over Britain’s 2016 Brexit decision

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gestures next to London Mayor Boris Johnson while viewing a parade of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes through London September 10, 2012. Tens of thousands of Britons took to the streets of London on Monday to welcome the stars of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and celebrate a summer of sport that surprised even the most optimistic by lifting the national mood.REUTERS/David Davies/POOL (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS POLITICS CITYSPACE)
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gestures next to London Mayor Boris Johnson while viewing a parade of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes through London September 10, 2012. Tens of thousands of Britons took to the streets of London on Monday to welcome the stars of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and celebrate a summer of sport that surprised even the most optimistic by lifting the national mood.REUTERS/David Davies/POOL (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS POLITICS CITYSPACE)

Former UK prime minister David Cameron has accused Boris Johnson of double dealing over Brexit and privately suggesting a second referendum was possible.

Mr Cameron, who led the losing Remain side before Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum, has offered a stinging rebuke of long-term rival Mr Johnson in an extract published by The Sunday Times from his coming memoirs.

He said Mr Johnson admitted behind closed doors that: “There could always be a fresh renegotiation followed by a second referendum."

Mr Johnson has said repeatedly since he took office and in the months before that if Britain were not to leave the EU, even with a no-deal Brexit, it would be a betrayal of British democracy.

Mr Cameron, who has shunned the limelight since his political defeat and resignation in 2016, has, in his new memoir For the Record, been unequivocal in his criticism of Mr Johnson and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove.

“Boris rode the bus round the country, he left the truth at home,” Mr Cameron wrote of the pro-Brexit campaign bus in which Mr Johnson travelled during the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

The Vote Leave campaign bus claimed Britain’s exit from the EU would save £350 million (Dh1.6bn) a week extra for the National Health Service.

“As for Michael, one quality shone through: disloyalty," Mr Cameron wrote of Mr Gove. "Disloyalty to me and later, disloyalty to Boris."

The former education minister withdrew his support from Mr Johnson in 2016, inadvertently clearing the path for Theresa May to succeed Mr Cameron.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrats' annual gathering for the conference season, party leader Jo Swinson said she could not not forgive Mr Cameron for calling the 2016 referendum.

"I think so much of the problems we are facing right now stem from David Cameron's shocking misjudgment in putting the interests of the Conservative Party in front of the national interest,” Ms Swinson said in Bournemouth.

With her party expecting to make considerable electoral gains in a coming general election by campaigning on a vigorous pro-remain platform, Ms Swinson promised the Lib Dems would cancel Brexit altogether if they won a majority at the election.

The stance on Brexit was reaffirmed in Bournemouth as members voted overwhelmingly to support a motion to revoke Article 50 if they were to enter into a majority government.

As the repercussions of Mr Cameron’s 2016 referendum continue to play out across the British Isles, in Scotland, nationalists have indicated their country may be one step closer to independence.

The country voted overwhelmingly in the referendum to remain in the EU.

Former president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, told the BBC he thought EU attitudes towards Scottish independence have changed because of Brexit.

"I think there is a change because for a lot of people, they are looking at what Scottish people are in favour of,” Mr Van Rompuy said.

“There is not much sympathy for the Brexit case in the EU, not among the leaders and not among the men and women in the street.

"There is much more sympathy for regions, parts of a country, that want to join the European Union."

After the former EU leader’s comments, Scotland's Constitutional Relations Secretary indicated there was a path open for an independent Scotland to "walk into" EU membership.

“There is a path open to an independent Scotland to be a normal European country, something that I think many people will be pleased about," Mike Russell said.

Updated: September 16, 2019 11:33 AM

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