David Cameron has said Britain chose the “wrong course” by voting for Brexit but admitted quitting the EU was a “legitimate choice” as the UK was often a “slightly reluctant and sometimes unhappy tenant” in the bloc.
In a rare interview since resigning as Prime Minister after losing the 2016 EU referendum, Cameron told US broadcaster CNN that the vote was “the right thing to do” as he argued “power after power” was handed to Brussels from Westminster and decisions were being made “about us, without us”.
Cameron was a long-standing eurosceptic but argued the union could be reformed while the UK was an EU member.
During the referendum campaign, he joined in full-throated with dire warnings about the economic impact of Brexit that was dubbed ‘Project Fear’.
He even warned peace in Europe could be put at risk if the UK voted to leave the EU.
In January, Cameron was overheard at Davos saying Brexit is not a “disaster” and has turned out “less badly” than he thought it would.
WATCH DAVID CAMERON DISCUSS BREXIT BELOW:
In the CNN interview, Cameron appeared philosophical about the UK’s prospects.
He said: “I haven’t changed my mind about the result of the referendum. I wish the vote had gone another way.
“I think we have taken the wrong course, but to be frank, Britain is the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, it is a legitimate choice to try and be a friend and a neighbour and a partner of the European Union, rather than a member of the European Union and that’s what the country has chosen.”
He identified a “quite fundamental problem” of Britain being outside the euro and the “beginning of decisions being made about us, without us, and we needed to fix our position”.
He added: “I wanted to fix it inside the European Union, the British public chose that we would fix it from outside and I wish my successor well in being, what I hope will be a good and friendly and close neighbour to the European Union, rather than as perhaps we were a slightly reluctant and sometimes unhappy tenant.”
His interview comes almost exactly a year after his successor, Theresa May, called a disastrous snap general election to secure a stronger Brexit mandate.
Meanwhile, May on Wednesday suffered a major Parliamentary defeat over Brexit after the House of Lords voted to keep open the option of staying in the EU Customs Union.