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David Cameron: Boris Johnson backed Leave to ‘help career’

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Boris
Johnson did not believe in Brexit during the referendum campaign and backed
Leave “because it would help his political career”, says David
Cameron.

In an
extract from his memoir published in the Sunday Times, the former PM also
refers to cabinet minister Michael Gove as “a foam-flecked Faragist”.

The pair
were “ambassadors for the expert-trashing, truth-twisting age of
populism”, Mr Cameron writes.

And he also
accuses Mr Gove of being disloyal to himself and Mr Johnson.

Of his
former colleague, Mr Cameron writes: “One quality shone through:
disloyalty. Disloyalty to me – and, later, disloyalty to Boris.”

The latest
revelations come after another extract published on Saturday accused the pair
of behaving “appallingly” during the 2016 referendum campaign.

Mr Cameron
called the poll after promising it in the Conservative Party’s election
manifesto.

He
campaigned for Remain, but lost the vote by 52% to 48%, and resigned as prime
minister shortly after.

Mr Cameron
writes that when deciding whether to back Leave or Remain in the campaign, Mr
Johnson was concerned what the “best outcome” would be for him.

“Whichever
senior Tory politician took the lead on the Brexit side – so loaded with images
of patriotism, independence and romance – would become the darling of the
party,” he says.

“He [Mr
Johnson] didn’t want to risk allowing someone else with a high profile –
Michael Gove in particular – to win that crown.”

The former
Tory leader adds: “The conclusion I am left with is that he [Boris
Johnson] risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his
political career.”

He also says
during the Leave campaign Mr Johnson, who has repeatedly said the UK must exit
the EU on 31 October, privately raised the possibility of holding another
referendum after fresh negotiations with the EU.

He
criticises Mr Johnson’s use of the Vote Leave campaign bus emblazoned by the
much-criticised claim that leaving would mean £350m a week extra for the NHS.

“Boris
rode the bus round the country, he left the truth at home,” writes the
former prime minister.

And of Mr
Gove – a cabinet minister both now and then – he said: “I couldn’t believe
what I was seeing.

“Gove,
the liberal-minded, carefully-considered Conservative intellectual, had become
a foam-flecked Faragist warning that the entire Turkish population was about to
come to Britain.”

During the
run-up to the EU referendum, Mr Gove claimed Turkey and four other
countries could join the EU by 2020, increasing the UK’s population by up to
5.23 million by 2030.

However, it
was the behaviour of his then employment minister and current Home Secretary
Priti Patel that “shocked” him the most, he says.

“She
used every announcement, interview and speech to hammer the government on
immigration, even though she was part of that government,” he writes.

“I was
stuck though: unable to fire her, because that would make her a Brexit
martyr.”

The prime
minister, Mr Gove and Ms Patel are yet to respond to the criticisms of them
contained in Mr Cameron’s book.

In an
interview with the Times published on Saturday, Mr Cameron said he was
“hugely depressed” about the 2016 referendum result and he knew
“some people will never forgive me”.

But he
defended his decision to call the poll, arguing the issue of the EU
“needed to be addressed”.

The prime
minister is due to meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in
Luxembourg this week as negotiations aimed at securing a deal continue.

In an
interview with the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson said he was still hopeful a
new deal with the EU could be reached in time for the crucial EU summit on 17
October.

It would
take a lot of work, he said, adding: “I think that we will get
there.”

He said
there was a “real sign of movement” in Berlin, Paris and “most
interestingly” in Dublin.

However, if
he cannot negotiate a deal, the UK would break out of its “manacles”
like cartoon character The Incredible Hulk on Halloween, he said.

“Hulk
always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is
the case for this country,” he said. “We will come out on 31 October
and we will get it done.”

In the
interview, Mr Johnson also repeated his opposition to an election pact with
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, saying the Conservative party was a
“great” and “old” party that did not form electoral pacts
with other parties.

Earlier this
month, Mr Johnson expelled 21 MPs from the party after they rebelled against
him in a bid to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Asked if any
would be allowed to stand as a Conservative at the next election, he did not
rule it out but urged people not to underestimate the gravity of what they had
done.

“They
were effectively handing the initiative to our opponents,” he said.
“I just want people to understand why it was necessary to be so
strict.”

Mr Cameron
became the Conservative Party leader in 2005. Five years later he was voted
into Downing Street as the UK’s youngest prime minister in almost 200 years –
aged 43.

His six-year
tenure – firstly in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and latterly with a
majority government – was dominated by his desire to reduce the deficit, and
the introduction of austerity measures with his Chancellor George Osborne.

But when he
pledged in his party’s 2015 manifesto to hold a referendum on the UK’s
membership of the EU, the focus shifted.

Mr Cameron
backed Remain during the 2016 campaign and, on the morning of the result after
discovering he had lost, he announced he would be stepping down, saying:
“I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that
steers our country to its next destination.”

The former
PM had remained silent until this weekend about both of his successors at the
helm of the Tory Party – Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

But his
allegedly fractious relationship with Mr Johnson has been well documented since
their days together at Oxford University – most notably as members of the
infamous Bullingdon Club.

Source: bbc.com

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