Over two months have passed since the Brexit referendum, since Conservative David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and made way for Theresa May. But now comes the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, as Cameron announced that he is also resigning his post as Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire, effectively leaving British government completely.
BBC reports that on Monday September 12, Cameron spoke to the Prime Minister, Conservative leaders in Oxfordshire, the staff of his Witney MP seat, and his London constituency staff, announcing his decision to resign as MP after “thinking long and hard about it over the summer”, following the hotly contested referendum that has left the UK in some manner of limbo with regards to the European Union. He noted that while he was honored to have represented his constituency in Parliament, he also did not want his remaining presence in as a former PM turned back-bench MP to unnecessarily distract their attention from now PM May’s implementation of new policies.
The 49-year old Cameron also denied that his decision to resign was a form of protest against May’s decision to allow the opening of new grammar schools in the country, something he had held great reservations for during his premiership. The timing was merely coincidental, he insisted.
His resignation was effective immediately, necessitating a quick by-election in Witney for a successor to the MP seat.
Cameron’s time in Parliament began in 2001 with his election as Witney MP, eventually becomig leader of the Conservative Party in 2005 and elected as Prime Minister in 2010. He was re-elected in 2015 after the Conservatives retained a majority in the House of Commons, but only after appeasing factions clamoring for the UK’s exit from the EU by promising a referendum to be held in the event of a Conservative victory. Experts believe he had greatly underestimated the amount of support for the measure, spurring his decision to resign in the wake of the successful “Brexit” vote. While he had expressed his intention to continue serving in Commons as MP, Cameron has since described his position as too divisive for the new leadership despite having expressed his full support for PM May.
Fellow MPs and May herself took to Twitter in expressing their opinions over Cameron’s resignation, reminiscing over their days working with him and understanding his reasons for leaving. William Hague shared the former PM’s viewpoint that former Prime Ministers who remained in Parliament are often accused of being inactive or merely distracting. PM May offered her well wishes.
"I now look forward to a life outside of Westminster,” Cameron said in his statement. “But [I] hope to continue to play a part in public service and to make a real and useful contribution to the country I love."
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