Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson pays tribute to David Cameron as the former Prime Minister steps down from his role as MP

Shailesh Vara, Peter Hiller, John Peach, Wayne Fitzgerald, David Cameron, Stewart Jackson, John Holdich
Shailesh Vara, Peter Hiller, John Peach, Wayne Fitzgerald, David Cameron, Stewart Jackson, John Holdich
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Stewart Jackson has paid tribute to former Prime Minister David Cameron, who has stepped down as an MP with immediate effect.

Mr Cameron resigned from his role as Prime Minister following the EU referendum in June.

Today (Monday) he said he was also resigning from his role as MP for Witney in Oxfordshire.

Peterborough MP and fellow Conservative Stewart Jackson - who did not always see eye-to-eye with Mr Cameron - said he was ‘surprised’ by the announcement.

He said: “I’m very surprised by the announcement but perhaps he wants to spend more time with his family and doing other things and who can blame him after 10 very busy years as Prime Minister?

“We were never close but I think he will be remembered more kindly by history as being the man whose commitment to an EU referendum allowed the UK to regain its role as a proud, outward looking Parliamentary democracy and global power again and that’s quite a legacy.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara added: “David Cameron managed to get the Conservatives back into power after 13 years and he led Britain at a time when we faced huge economic uncertainty. Under his leadership we managed to pull back from the brink. I wish him the very best for the future.”

The former PM had previously said he was “very keen to continue” as MP for Witney, which he has represented in the House of Commons since 2001, and said it was “very much my intention” to seek re-election in 2020.

But in a statement, he said: “Having fully considered my position over the summer, I have decided that I am going to stand down as the Member of Parliament for Witney.

“There will now be a by-election and I will do everything that I can to help the Conservative candidate win that election.

“In my view, the circumstances of my resignation as Prime Minister and the realities of modern politics make it very difficult to continue on the backbenches without the risk of becoming a diversion to the important decisions that lie ahead for my successor in Downing Street and the Government.

“I fully support Theresa May and have every confidence that Britain will thrive under her strong leadership.”

Mr Cameron said he would not be moving away from the constituency, where he has made his home with wife Samantha and their children.

He said it had been “an honour” to serve the people of the area for the past 15 years.

“ Our house in Dean is the place Samantha, my children and I call home, and that will not change,” said Mr Cameron.

“I will continue to support the local causes and charities that mean so much to me and many others in this beautiful and enterprising part of our country.

“I now look forward to a life outside of Westminster, but hope to continue to play a part in public service and to make a real and useful contribution to the country I love.”

Mr Cameron said it “isn’t really possible” to be a proper backbench MP as a former prime minister because his actions would become a “big distraction”.

The former PM said he had quit with a “heavy heart” but he needed to “build a life” outside Westminster.

He said Mrs May had “got off to a cracking start” and she had been “very understanding” about his decision.

“Obviously I’m going to have my own views about different issues. People would know that and that’s really the point.

“As a former prime minister it is very difficult, I think, to sit as a backbencher and not be an enormous diversion and distraction from what the Government is doing.”

Asked if Mrs May’s plans to introduce a new wave of grammar schools was linked to his decision, he replied: “This decision has got nothing to do with any one individual issue. The timing in that way, I promise, is coincidental.”

Mr Cameron said there were “many good things” in the policy but refused to endorse the proposals.

“My announcement today is not about grammar schools, there’s no connection with grammar schools, it’s purely one of timing.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “David Cameron led us into a referendum he didn’t want and then lost. He walked away from the country in June and now he’s done the same to his constituents.

“He will be remembered as the prime minister who presided over massive cuts to vital public services and led our country out of Europe. A toxic legacy.”