Sir Craig Oliver, Cameron’s director of communications, discloses how his close circle, including Prime Minister Theresa May, close friend Michael Gove besides Boris Johnson left him alone during the Brexit campaign….reports Asian Lite News
Sir Craig Oliver, a former key aide to Mr Cameron, said the then home secretary Mrs Theresa May failed to back the Remain campaign 13 times and was regarded by some as “an enemy agent,” BBC reported.
Cameron felt “badly let down” by Mrs May during the EU referendum campaign, his former director of communications has said.
Sir Craig was Downing Street director of communications for five years. He also said Boris Johnson believed the Leave campaign would be “crushed”.
The claims are made in a new book – Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story Of Brexit – serialised in the Mail on Sunday.
It also discloses how ‘political suicide bomber’ Michael Gove went back on a pledge made to Cameron at a family gathering at Chequers at Christmas to stay loyal to him in the referendum.
Sir Craig said Mr Cameron briefly considered staying on as prime minister, despite losing the referendum.
However, he said 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 said Mrs May only “come 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.
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 will jump”.
Sir Craig said matters finally came to a head after a newspaper warned Mr Cameron faced “last minute 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’.”
Mrs May became prime minister following Mr Cameron’s resignation
Sir Craig also claimed 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 wrote 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 said Mr Johnson later send 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, flip-flopping within a matter of hours; and his cavalier approach.”
Sir Craig said 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.
Mr Oliver wrote that he believed Mr Johnson was really a “confused inner”, saying his previous conversations with him confirmed that view.
Oliver’s book savages Gove, accusing him of betraying his personal friend Cameron in the referendum and then Johnson in the subsequent Tory leadership contest.
Cameron was so angry with ‘deceitful’ Gove’s attacks that he threatened to denounce him publicly on television, raging: ‘I’m going to lose my temper and unleash one on these people on live TV soon.’
According to Oliver, Gove’s wife, the writer Sarah Vine, had assured Cameron at Chequers over Christmas that her husband would be on his side in the referendum.
When Gove set his own sights on No 10, Cameron questioned his mental fitness, saying that he was ‘prone to infarctions’ – or seizures. ‘Can you imagine him ever being left in charge of the country?’ Cameron demanded.
Oliver says he never trusted Gove, whose ‘legendary politeness seemed forced for someone so skilled at dinner party assassinations’.