David Cameron ‘let down’ by Theresa May, says for­mer PM aide

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

For­mer PM David Cameron felt “badly let down” by Theresa May dur­ing the EU ref­er­en­dum cam­paign, his for­mer di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions has said.

Sir Craig Oliver, a for­mer key aide to Mr Cameron, said the then home sec­re­tary failed to back the Re­main cam­paign 13 times and was re­garded by some as “an en­emy agent”.

He also said Boris John­son be­lieved the Leave cam­paign would be “crushed”.

Nei­ther Down­ing Street nor the for­eign sec­re­tary has re­sponded to the claims.

The claims are made in a book Un­leash­ing De­mons: The In­side Story Of Brexit - se­ri­alised in the Mail on Sun­day.

In it, Sir Craig says Mr Cameron briefly con­sid­ered stay­ing on as prime min­is­ter, de­spite losing the ref­er­en­dum.

How­ever, he says he de­cided against it, say­ing he feared re­main­ing in Down­ing Street would have left him “be­ing pre­pared for the slaugh­ter­house”.

Mr Cameron re­signed as prime min­is­ter the day af­ter the re­sult and was re­placed by Mrs May.

Sir Craig says Mrs May only came “off the fence” in favour of Re­main af­ter Mr Cameron be­came “vis­i­bly wound up” and gave her a dress­ing down over the tele­phone.

“Amid the mur­der and be­trayal of the cam­paign, one fig­ure stayed very still at the cen­tre of it all - Theresa May. Now she is the last one stand­ing,” wrote Sir Craig, who was Mr Cameron’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for five years.

Sir Craig’s book sug­gests Mr Cameron was left un­cer­tain over whether Mrs May favoured stay­ing in the Euro­pean Union.

He said Mrs May was re­ferred to dis­mis­sively by aides as “sub­ma­rine May” dur­ing the cam­paign.

The then home sec­re­tary’s “sphinx-like ap­proach” be­came dif­fi­cult, he added in the book, as the press were ques­tion­ing which way she would jump.

Sir Craig said mat­ters fi­nally came to a head af­ter a news­pa­per warned Mr Cameron faced “last­minute op­po­si­tion” from Mrs May to his deal for EU re­form.

“Later, on a train to Chip­pen­ham for a speech, DC [David Cameron] is vis­i­bly wound up by the re­port.

“Sud­denly he picks up his mo­bile and calls May, ask­ing her to make clear we have been vic­to­ri­ous in our plan to crack down on ‘swindlers and fid­dlers’ at­tempt­ing to come into the UK,” he wrote.

“When he hangs up he seems to think he’s made an im­pact. Later the home sec­re­tary is­sues a state­ment say­ing she be­lieves there’s ‘the ba­sis for a deal here’.”

Sir Craig also claims Mr John­son, now for­eign sec­re­tary, was “gen­uinely in tur­moil” about sup­port­ing the Leave cam­paign and had been “flip-flop­ping within a mat­ter of hours” of declar­ing his in­ten­tion.

The for­mer Mayor of Lon­don be­came a prom­i­nent leader of the pro-Brexit cam­paign.

Sir Craig writes that, the day be­fore throw­ing his weight be­hind

the Leave cam­paign, Mr John­son sent a text to Mr Cameron warn­ing him that he would be cam­paign­ing for Brexit,

How­ever, he says Mr John­son later sent a sec­ond mes­sage sug­gest­ing he could back Re­main.

“I ask DC what makes him so sure Boris is wob­bling. He reads out some parts of the text in­clud­ing the phrase ‘de­pres­sion is set­ting in’, fol­lowed by a clear sense that he’s re­con­sid­er­ing.

“Nei­ther of us is left in any doubt,” he added.

“I am struck by two things: Boris is gen­uinely in tur­moil, flipflop­ping within a mat­ter of hours; and his cav­a­lier ap­proach.”

Sir Craig says Mr Cameron re­ceived a fi­nal text mes­sage from Mr John­son say­ing he would be back­ing Leave just nine min­utes be­fore he pub­licly an­nounced his in­ten­tions.

He writes that he be­lieves Mr John­son was re­ally a “con­fused in­ner”, say­ing his pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tions with him con­firmed that view.

Pho­to­graph: AP

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