Former prime minister David Cameron has said the regret he feels over the decision to hold the EU referendum still haunts him.

He said he is ‘deeply sorry’ about all that has happened since then as he prepares to publish his memoirs later this week.

Cameron also says Boris Johnson ‘didn’t believe’ in Brexit and only backed the Leave campaign to further his career.

In an interview with journalist Tom Brady for ITV, Cameron said he feels he has responsibility for the path the country has gone down.

When asked if the decision to hold the 2016 vote haunted him, he said: ‘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.

‘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.’

When asked if he would apologise to the country for his actions, Cameron said: ‘I’m deeply sorry about all that’s happened.

‘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 he said he believed making a decision that Britain’s position in the European Union needed to be ‘sorted’ with a renegotiation and a referendum was ‘the right approach’.

He added: ‘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’s memoirs also reveal the former prime minister rang European leaders and then US president Barack Obama to apologise for his failed strategy to keep the UK in the EU.

He wrote he was ‘sad to leave office but even more sad that Britain would be leaving the EU’ in his book, For The Record, which is being serialised in The Times ahead of its publication on Thursday.



Another revelation was that Johnson asked whether Michael Gove was ‘a bit cracked’ after the Brexiteer betrayed him during the 2016 Tory leadership race.

Recalling the morning after the Brexit referendum, in which 52 per cent of people voted leave, Cameron said he was aware of the ‘enormity of what happened’.

He said it would ‘stay with me for the rest of my life’.

‘As it awaited its next occupants, Downing Street became an eerie place. Power was fading like a dimming light bulb.

‘Pre-arranged commitments in my diary kept me busy but I was beginning to feel like the political equivalent of The Walking Dead.’

The Conservative former prime minister has also recalled the fraught battle to replace him in Number 10 in his memoir.

Gove initially supported Johnson’s campaign but then dramatically withdrew his backing and announced he would stand himself – leading the now-PM to quit the contest.

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

Gove relationship with Johnson could be put under pressure thanks to Cameron’s memoirs.

The 2016 leadership battle was eventually won by Theresa May and Cameron revealed how he secretly encouraged Gavin Williamson to help her campaign, according to The Times.


In extracts from the book published over the weekend, Cameron took aim at Gove, describing him as a ‘foam-flecked Faragist’.

He said Johnson wanted to become the ‘darling’ of the Tory party and ‘didn’t want to risk allowing someone else with a high profile – Michael Gove in particular – to win that crown’.

Expressing doubt over Johnson’s support for Brexit, he said: ‘The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.’