Cameron quits as MP, ending career in politics

British Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his resignation outside N10 Downing Street in London, Britain on June 24, 2016.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his resignation outside N10 Downing Street in London, Britain on June 24, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON • Britain's former prime minister David Cameron said yesterday that he was resigning from his seat in Parliament to avoid becoming a "distraction", ending his political career just weeks after he lost a referendum to stay in the European Union.

Mr Cameron, who came to power in 2010, said he had told Prime Minister Theresa May of his decision to stop representing his constituency in Oxfordshire to make way for someone who could concentrate on the area in central England.

"I've thought about this long and hard over the summer and I've decided the right thing to do is to stand down as the Member of Parliament for Witney," he told BBC TV.

"In my view, with modern politics, with the circumstances of my resignation, it isn't really possible to be a proper backbench MP as a former prime minister. I think everything you do will become a big distraction and a big diversion from what the government needs to do for our country."

The 49-year-old stepped down as prime minister in June, shortly after 52 per cent of Britons ignored his pleas and voted to leave the EU, saying the country needed "fresh leadership" to negotiate its exit.

He had sat on the "back benches" of Parliament several times since he quit the top job, but made little impact, and had earlier said he would complete his term in office until the next election due in 2020.

Mrs May has moved to distance herself from some of his policies, particularly in education, where she has ditched his pledge not to increase the number of selective grammar schools.

"I support her, I support what she's doing, and she's got off to a cracking start," Mr Cameron said. "Obviously, I'm going to have my own views about different issues... That's really the point."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2016, with the headline 'Cameron quits as MP, ending career in politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe