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Cameron blasts Johnson's 'appalling' behavior

September 14, 2019

Britain's former Prime Minister David Cameron said those campaigning for Brexit in 2016 "left the truth at home," especially over immigration. He refused to rule out a second referendum on EU membership.

David Cameron and Boris Johnson (2015)
Image: AFP/J. Taylor

The man who took Britain into a June 2016 referendum on European Union membership on Saturday apologized for the uncertainty the result has caused.

In an interview with British newspaper The Times, David Cameron said he was "truly sorry" for the division that had unfolded over the past three years since the Brexit vote.

Taking aim at current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who led the 'Leave' campaign in favor of renouncing the country's EU membership, Cameron said he had behaved "appallingly."

Johnson and several other politicians in the ruling Conservative Party had "left the truth at home" while campaigning, especially over immigration, he added.

Read more: Pro-Brexit MP: UK, EU relationship will 'never be the same again'

Turkey fears falsified

Ahead of the referendum, the 'Leave' campaign played up public fears over migration from other EU countries by suggesting that Turkey — with its population of 76 million — would soon join the bloc and that Britain would be "swamped" with new migrants.

Cameron, who campaigned to remain in the EU and resigned after his defeat, acknowledged that "there are those who will never forgive me" for holding the referendum or failing to deliver the outcome he desired.

"I deeply regret the outcome and accept that my approach failed. The decisions I took contributed to that failure. I failed," he told The Times.

Moving on to the current paralysis in British politics over Brexit, Cameron complained that Johnson's strategy has "morphed" into something "quite different," adding that he didn't support the recent prorogation of Parliament, a no-deal Brexit, and the expulsion of 21 rebel Conservative MPs.

Read more: Brexit: France losing patience with UK uncertainty

Northern Ireland: Rocky road to Brexit

Second vote?

Cameron also said he wouldn't rule out a second referendum to try to resolve the Brexit impasse.

"I'm not saying one will happen or should happen. I'm just saying that you can't rule things out right now because you've got to find some way of unblocking the blockage."

On three occasions, lawmakers rejected the divorce agreement that was negotiated over two years between Britain and the EU. Last week, parliament passed legislation that forces Johnson to avoid the country crashing out of the bloc on October 31.

Parliament is suspended until October 14th and Johnson will meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker next week in an attempt to rework the divorce deal.

Cameron, who served as prime minister from 2010 to 2016, releases his memoir, "For the Record," next week.

mm/rc (AFP, AP dpa, Reuters)

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