David Cameron |
David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Witney from 2001 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to 2016. He identifies as a one-nation conservative, and has been associated with both economically liberal and socially liberal policies.
Cameron was born in Marylebone, London, and raised at Peasemore in Berkshire. He has a brother, Alexander Cameron QC (born 1963), a barrister, and two sisters, Tania Rachel (born 1965) and Clare Louise (born 1971).
The Conservatives' unexpected success in the 1992 election led Cameron to hit back at older party members who had criticised him and his colleagues, saying "whatever people say about us, we got the campaign right", and that they had listened to their campaign workers on the ground rather than the newspapers. He revealed he had led other members of the team across Smith Square to jeer at Transport House, the former Labour headquarters. Cameron was rewarded with a promotion to Special Adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont.
Cameron was much more socially liberal than Howard but enjoyed working for him. According to Derek Lewis, then Director-General of Her Majesty's Prison Service, Cameron showed him a "his and hers list" of proposals made by Howard and his wife, Sandra. Lewis said that Sandra Howard's list included reducing the quality of prison food, although she denied this claim. Lewis reported that Cameron was "uncomfortable" about the list. In defending Sandra Howard and insisting that she made no such proposal, the journalist Bruce Anderson wrote that Cameron had proposed a much shorter definition on prison catering which revolved around the phrase "balanced diet", and that Lewis had written thanking Cameron for a valuable contribution.
In 1997, Cameron played up the company's prospects for digital terrestrial television, for which it joined with ITV Granada and Sky to form British Digital Broadcasting. In a roundtable discussion on the future of broadcasting in 1998 he criticised the effect of overlapping different regulators on the industry. Carlton's consortium did win the digital terrestrial franchise but the resulting company suffered difficulties in attracting subscribers. Cameron resigned as Director of Corporate Affairs in February 2001 in order to run for Parliament for a second time, although he remained on the payroll as a consultant.
In the round of selection contests taking place in the run-up to the 2001 general election, Cameron again attempted to be selected for a winnable seat. He tried for the Kensington and Chelsea seat after the death of Alan Clark, but did not make the shortlist. He was in the final two but narrowly lost at Wealden in March 2000, a loss ascribed by Samantha Cameron to his lack of spontaneity when speaking.
Cameron determinedly attempted to increase his public visibility, offering quotations on matters of public controversy. He opposed the payment of compensation to Gurbux Singh, who had resigned as head of the Commission for Racial Equality after a confrontation with the police; and commented that the Home Affairs Select Committee had taken a long time to discuss whether the phrase "black market" should be used. However, he was passed over for a front-bench promotion in July 2002; Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith did invite Cameron and his ally George Osborne to coach him on Prime Minister's Questions in November 2002. The next week, Cameron deliberately abstained in a vote on allowing same-sex and unmarried couples to adopt children jointly, against a whip to oppose; his abstention was noted. The wide scale of abstentions and rebellious votes destabilised the Duncan Smith leadership.
In the first ballot of Conservative MPs on 18 October 2005, Cameron came second, with 56 votes, slightly more than expected; David Davis had fewer than predicted at 62 votes; Liam Fox came third with 42 votes; and Kenneth Clarke was eliminated with 38 votes. In the second ballot on 20 October 2005, Cameron came first with 90 votes; David Davis was second, with 57; and Liam Fox was eliminated with 51 votes. All 198 Conservative MPs voted in both ballots.
Talks between Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg led to an agreed Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. Cameron in late 2009 had urged the Liberal Democrats to join the Conservatives in a new "national movement" saying there was "barely a cigarette paper" between them on a large number of issues. The invitation was rejected at the time by the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, who said that the Conservatives were totally different from his party and that the Lib Dems were the true "progressives" in UK politics.
The referendum came to be known as Brexit (a portmanteau of "British" and "exit") and was held on 23 June 2016. The result was approximately 52% in favour of leaving the European Union and 48% against, with a turnout of 72%. On 24 June, a few hours after the results became known, Cameron announced that he would resign the office of Prime Minister by the start of the Conservative Party Conference in October 2016. In a farewell speech outside 10 Downing Street, he stated that, on account of his own advocacy on behalf of remaining in the EU, "I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination."