David Cameron believed the Brexit referendum he called would never happen because the Lib Dems would block it, EU chief Donald Tusk has claimed.
In an interview for a BBC documentary to be aired next Monday, Tusk said the then-prime minister told him the Conservative Party would not win the 2015 election outright, so would again need to rely on Nick Clegg to form a government.
The president of the European Council told the ‘Inside Europe: 10 Years Of Turmoil’ programme:
“I asked David Cameron, ‘Why did you decide on this referendum, this – it’s so dangerous, so even stupid, you know,’ and, he told me – and I was really amazed and even shocked – that the only reason was his own party, [He told me] he felt really safe, because he thought at the same time that there’s no risk of a referendum, because, his coalition partner, the Liberals, would block this idea of a referendum.
“But then, surprisingly, he won and there was no coalition partner.
“So paradoxically David Cameron became the real victim of his own victory.”
Cameron last week insisted he did not regret calling the referendum – despite it leading to his resignation.
“I do not regret calling the referendum,” he said. “It was a promise I made two years before the 2015 general election, it was included in a manifesto, it was legislated for in parliament.”
However the former PM said he “deeply” regretted that the public chose to vote for Brexit.
“I was leading the campaign to stay in the European Union and obviously I regret the difficulties and problems we have been having in trying to implement the result of that referendum,” he said.