David Cameron, the former British Prime Minister has announced he will stand down as a member of parliament for his constituency of Witney immediately, triggering a by-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,” he said in a statement Monday.
“I fully support Theresa May and have every confidence that Britain will thrive under her strong leadership.
“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.”
Cameron, 49, became Conservative leader in 2005 and Prime minister in 2010.
He revealed that he spoke with his successor before making the decision public.
“I spoke to Theresa May and she was very understanding about this decision,” Cameron told ITV.
“I support her. I support what she’s doing. She’s got off to a cracking start. 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.
“I don’t want to be that distraction. I want Witney to have an MP that can play a full role in parliamentary and political life in a way that I think I would find very difficult, if not impossible.”
Under Cameron’s leadership, the Conservatives won the 2010 general election, ending Labour’s 13 years in government, although the party was forced into entering a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.
During his time as Prime minister, he introduced same-sex marriage in 2013 and held off the threat of Scottish independence after a referendum in 2014.
In the end, Cameron’s undoing was his belief that he could end the constant infighting within the Conservative Party over the UK’s position in Europe.
His decision to call a referendum proved an unnecessary and costly gamble.
Mrs May, who is now tasked with dealing with the fallout from Brexit, said she was “proud” to have served alongside her predecessor.
“Not just stabilizing the economy, but also making great strides in delivering serious social reform.
“His commitment to lead a one nation Government is one that I will continue — and I thank him for everything he has done for the Conservative party and the country.
“I wish him and his family well for the future.”