David Cameron – 2016 Statement on Theresa May Transition


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in Downing Street, London on 11 July 2016.

Good afternoon.

I am delighted that we are not going to have a prolonged Conservative leadership election campaign.

I think Andrea Leadsom has made absolutely the right decision to stand aside and it is clear that Theresa May has the overwhelming support of the Conservative Parliamentary Party.

I am also delighted that Theresa May will be the next Prime Minister. She is strong, she is competent, she is more than able to provide the leadership that our country is going to need in the years ahead and she will have my full support.

Obviously with these changes we now don’t need to have a prolonged period of transition, and so tomorrow I will chair my last Cabinet meeting. On Wednesday, I will attend the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions and then after that I expect to go to the Palace and offer my resignation so we’ll have a new Prime Minister by Wednesday evening.

Thank you very much.

David Cameron – 2016 Speech at Farnborough Air Show


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on 11 July 2016.

It’s great to be back here, because this is the right place to talk about the future for the British economy. Why? Because in the new situation we face, we are going to need to play to our strengths.

And the British aerospace industry is clearly one of those greatest strengths. It’s the second biggest in the world, based on long-term investment, science, research and high skills, and its products and expertise exported across the globe.

Indeed, every two seconds, a plane takes off or lands somewhere in the world whose wing design was tested right here at Farnborough. And by the end of the decade, if you board a large passenger plane, as often as not, it will be powered by a Rolls-Royce engine.

That is the scale and success of British aerospace today.

Now just over a fortnight ago, the British people voted to leave the European Union. That went against what I recommended. I don’t resile from what I said, from my warnings of a short-term shock, medium-term uncertainty and some long-term risks.

Indeed, we’ve already had a taste of the turbulence in global markets and in terms of the value of the pound. And there will be other problems ahead.

But I want to be clear: we will deal with them from a position of strength, with a growing economy, a greatly-reduced deficit, with low inflation and more jobs and businesses than ever before in our country.

Above all though, we must recognise we are in a new reality now. We must accept it, we must make it work. That’s the way British business is responding to the referendum result.

As one of your longest-serving chairmen wrote to me this weekend and said: “We must make the most of the cards in front of us, not ask for a new hand.”

The key things we need to get right are these: our future relationship with Europe, Britain’s underlying productivity challenges, the need to grow exports faster, and encourage more inward investment. And above all, we need to think big and think radically about how to ensure the best possible outcome for the United Kingdom in these new circumstances.

Trade and investment

This amounts to the biggest challenge for the British political system that we have faced for around 40 years. It will require a massive national effort, not just for government departments, civil servants and ministers, but an effort that means working together with business and industries in a way we’ve never seen before. And as we do so, I want to spell out the big things that I think that effort should focus upon.

First, we have got on focus on trade and investment as never before. UK Trade and Investment has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Our exports to China have increased by 90%, to South Korea they’ve more than doubled and we’ve made impressive progress in markets like Chile and Pakistan.

But the fact is, despite all the benefits of selling goods and services abroad, just 11% of British companies export. Of those who do, only 5% of what we make and sell goes to fast-growing markets like China and India. We still do more trade with Belgium than we do with Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia combined. We do more trade in services with Luxembourg than with the massive economies of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Now people read those figures in two ways. Some emphasise the importance of our European market. And others say it shows how far we have to go in driving exports into the expanding markets. Both of those readings are right. And we need to do both things – we need to win in Europe and win in the rest of the world.

Now around the world, middle classes are rapidly expanding. Young populations are growing and growing. More and more people have disposable incomes; more and more have smartphones. And those people want to buy British – to wear our clothes, listen to our music, watch our football teams, use our apps, fly in our planes, drive in our cars. They are starting to want to buy the things we’re especially great at, like services.

UK Trade and Investment has made great strides. But we need a further step change in the pace and the effort and the activity that we undertake. And as we recast our relationship with Europe, this is our moment to do so. But UKTI cannot do it alone.

Six years ago, I gave some very clear instructions to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. To our diplomats and our staff overseas I said: you are also our trade envoys. To our embassies and high commissions I say: you are the shop windows for Britain.

We set up a GREAT campaign to promote Britain in 144 countries. You can see it emblazoned everywhere, from the Moscow Metro to the Rio cable cars that we are going to see a lot of in the coming months. And today the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is much more commercially minded.

New opportunities

So I say now we have to redouble our efforts again and embrace the new opportunities.

We need to draw up a list of the countries and territories we should be thinking of for our future trade deals, led by the department for business, the Foreign Office and more.

Now we need to develop the skills necessary to strike those deals. It’s not optional now; it is essential. Britain’s economic future relies on it – and the renewed push needs to begin right now.

Next, we need to address one of the remaining fundamental weaknesses of our economy. We face a massive productivity challenge. Yes, our growth here in Britain has been stronger than many. And yes, in the last Parliament we created more jobs in the UK than the rest of Europe put together. But our output per person, per hour is still lower than America, Germany and France.

Now is the moment to tackle it. There is no single, silver bullet. The work we have done on cutting businesses’ taxes and prioritising infrastructure – that helps, and must continue.

High-speed rail, green investment, super-fast broadband: this needs to be combined with building more homes, reforming planning, starting more apprenticeships.

And now that we are coming out of the European Union, we must rapidly explore all the new potential opportunities for supply-side reforms, for example on taxes, which could also boost our productivity.

But above all, our response to the productivity gap needs to be business-led, and I welcome the initiatives coming from British business.

Dynamic economy

I also think we should be taking note from industries that do this well. In aerospace, productivity is growing 15 times faster than in the rest of our economy. I say: let’s take your lead, learn the lessons that you provide, and get more industries doing what you’re doing.

Next, we should focus on how we can help different sectors to thrive, just as this aerospace sector does. Yes, we need a dynamic market economy that pulls its weight in every sector – from manufacturing to services. And yes, in that dynamic economy we must recognise that new, insurgent businesses, and indeed new, insurgent industries, mustn’t be held back – after all, they are often the ones that drive new investment and jobs.

And I don’t believe in picking winners. But there are sectors where Britain clearly has a competitive edge, and where there can be strong partnership between business and government. And we need to build on that record.

We’ve got it in aerospace. We’ve got it with the automotive industry. But I want us to have it elsewhere, in pharmaceuticals, in life sciences, in all the different aspects of tech – green tech, financial tech, in our world-beating creative industries and financial services.

We’re getting there, but we need to go faster, linking academia with industry to discover cures for new diseases, backing advanced manufacturing for the industries of tomorrow, making it easier for our film studios and fashion houses to flourish, and getting the funding to the tech start-ups that are set to change the way that we live.


And that leads me one final point about collaboration. Because when you consider the challenges that we face and the opportunities that we have now got to make the most of, it is obvious that we are going to need an all-government effort. We cannot afford to work in silos. And this must be driven from the top.

Take our National Security Council, now been operating for six years. I wouldn’t argue that creating it has solved all our security problems or dissolved all the threats that we face. Of course not. But it has helped us to face them in a more joined-up, strategic and effective way. Why? Because we bring together all the weapons in our armoury – military, intelligence, counter terrorist policing, aid, diplomacy, development – it brings all these things together to meet the challenges that we face.

And now that the UK faces – alongside that set of security challenges – a new set of economic challenges; it is, in my view, time to do the same thing in the economic sphere.

When we are trying to break into new markets and sign new trade deals, we need all our economic, business and industrial might working together in the same direction – our business leaders, universities leaders and more.

When we are examining ways of driving up productivity, we need all the economic departments at the table – not just the Treasury, but education, infrastructure, regional planning, everyone.

The threats we face don’t neatly fit into one department’s remit. I would say they are everyone’s remit.

Now it’s a matter for the next Prime Minister what structures to set up, but I would strongly advise taking an approach like the one I have just set out.

As for our European relationship, there is a huge amount of work to do, complex issues to understand and crack, a negotiating mandate to draw up, and the big, strategic decisions are for the next Prime Minister. But the groundwork is underway.

All I would say about the outcome is this: I believe it is in our fundamental national and economic interests to remain very close to the European Union, for trade, for business, for security, for cooperation. So let that be our goal.

So the right relationship with Europe, higher productivity, more exports and inward investment – these are the things that we have to get right – and they will require a massive national effort.

Looking at the aerospace industry – growing four times faster than the rest of our economy; with 90 per cent of its turnover made up of exports; and an exemplary relationship with government, academia and other industries – we can see just what can be delivered.

So I would argue that we need to come together. We need to make the most of the cards in front of us. We need to build that strong, dynamic economy that really could be the envy of the world.

David Cameron – 2016 Speech at NATO Summit


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in Warsaw, Poland on 9 July 2016.

Britain’s membership of NATO is vital for our country because it helps to keep our nation secure and our people safe.

It is vital for NATO too because for 65 years the United Kingdom has played a leading role at the heart of this successful alliance, deploying British troops alongside our Allies around the world, from Afghanistan to the Aegean to the Baltics.

We have played a key role in making sure that together we stand up to aggression, we face up to new threats, and we invest in the latest capabilities.

Wales 2014 was an absolutely key moment in NATO’s development – pledges there included the defence investment pledge, which set the ambition for all Allies to increase defence spending to meet our level of ambition.

And it was at Wales where we agreed a vital package of reassurance measures to deter Russian aggression.

Here at Warsaw, we have reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to this Alliance with concrete action to tackle the threats we face from Russia, from terrorism and from illegal migration.

Let me say a few words on each.


First, Russia. Two years on from Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, our message to Russia has not changed. Such action is indefensible and wrong. And we will always stand up for the sovereign right of countries to make their own decisions.

But we are not seeking confrontation with Russia. Indeed, we are working to prevent it. So we will continue to pursue a twin track approach of deterrence and dialogue.

The multi-national spearhead force that we agreed at the Wales Summit is now operational. It’s capable of deploying anywhere on Alliance territory in just a few days – so it sends a strong, clear message to Russia that NATO stands ready to respond quickly to threats.

And Britain will lead the land force next year, providing 3000 troops along with tanks and Warrior armoured fighting vehicles.

We have also agreed to further reassure our Allies by increasing the number of NATO troops present along our eastern flank. And once again, the UK will play its part. On land with the deployment of 500 soldiers to Estonia early next year as well as an infantry company to be based here in Poland, and in the air by taking part in next year’s air policing mission.

But we must also engage in a hard-headed dialogue with Russia to avoid misunderstanding or miscalculation. And that’s why we have agreed that the first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in many months will take place next week.


Turning to terrorism, NATO has an important role to play beyond its borders helping to prevent countries becoming a safe haven for terrorists who can threaten us here at home.

That is what we did in Afghanistan and today we have reaffirmed our collective commitment to support a more secure and stable future for that country.

The Alliance has agreed to maintain funding for the Afghan security forces through to 2020 and to keep a significant NATO troop presence into the next fighting season.

As part of this, the UK will do more to train Afghan officers. We will keep 450 troops there into 2017 and we will deploy a further 50 personnel to provide additional mentoring, particularly for the Afghan air force. We will also step up NATO’s efforts to help the Iraqi government tackle Islamist extremism.

Two years ago at the Wales summit, we agreed to offer a NATO training mission once an Iraqi government was in place.

That mission, training Iraqi forces inside Jordan, has been such a success that today we have agreed to provide counter-IED, medical and security training within Iraq.

And Britain will provide £1 million in funding to help get this up and running.

It is vital that as we work to defeat violent extremism around the world, we equip other countries to deal with these threats too.


Finally, we have discussed how NATO can work alongside other organisations like the EU to tackle different challenges such as illegal migration.

Such co-operation has proved effective in the Aegean where the NATO naval operation has helped to reduce the number of people embarking on these perilous journeys from a peak at one stage of 2700 people moving every day from Turkey to Greece to around 70 today. It has been a very strong success.

The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to contribute a ship to that mission and today I can announce that we will maintain our role with the deployment of HMS Mersey later this month to take over from RFA Cardigan Bay.

Nuclear deterrent

So here at this summit the UK has underlined the importance of the contribution we make to this Alliance – with further deployments on land, in the air and at sea.

Of course, this is only possible because we have stood by our commitment to spend 2% of our GDP on defence. Indeed our defence spending is one quarter of the European total. We have the largest defence budget in Europe, the second largest in NATO and we are maximising our investment in the front line.

We will spend £178 billion over the next decade on equipment and equipment support. A lot of people talk about the 2% commitment, rightly, but there is also a commitment to spend 20% of your defence budget on equipment programme, again a pledge that Britain more than meets.

And we must invest in the ultimate insurance policy of all – our nuclear deterrent.

So today I can announce that we will hold a Parliamentary vote on 18 July to confirm MPs support for the renewal of a full fleet of four nuclear submarines capable of providing around-the-clock cover.

The nuclear deterrent remains essential in my view – not just to Britain’s security but – as our allies have acknowledged here today – to the overall security of the Alliance.


To conclude, I think this summit has underlined one very important message – that while Britain may be leaving the European Union, we are not withdrawing from the world, nor are we turning our back on Europe or on European security.

We will continue to be an outward-looking nation that stands up for our values around the world – the only major country in the world to spend 2% of our GDP on defence, as promised, and 0.7% of our GDP on overseas aid, as promised. Only Britain, amongst the major countries, has kept those 2 vital pledges. And they massively enhance our standing and our ability to get things done in the world and our ability to keep people safe at home.

We are a country that is willing to deploy its troops to reassure our Eastern partners or to help countries further away defeat terrorists.

A country with the ultimate deterrent. And above all, a proud, strong United Kingdom that will keep working with our allies to advance the security of our nation and people for generations to come.

David Cameron – 2016 Statement on the Chilcot Inquiry


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 6 July 2016.

This morning, Sir John Chilcot has published the report of the independent Iraq inquiry. This is a difficult day for all the families of those who lost loved ones. They have waited for this report for too long, and our first thoughts today must be with them. In their grief and anger, I hope they can draw at least some solace from the depth and rigour of this report and, above all, some comfort from knowing that we will never forget the incredible service and sacrifice of their sons, daughters, husbands and wives—179 British servicemen and women and 23 British civilians who gave everything for our country. We must also never forget the thousands more who suffered life-changing injuries, and we must pledge today to look after them for the rest of their lives.

This report would have been produced sooner if it had been begun when Conservative Members and others first called for it back in 2006, but I am sure that the House will join me in thanking Sir John and his Privy Counsellors, including the late Sir Martin Gilbert, who sadly passed away during the work on this report.

This has been a fully independent inquiry. Government Ministers did not even see it until yesterday morning. The Cabinet Secretary led a process that gave Sir John full access to Government papers. This has meant an unprecedented public declassification of Joint Intelligence Committee papers, key Cabinet minutes, records of meetings and conversations between the UK Prime Minister and the American President, and 31 personal memos from the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to President George W. Bush. The inquiry also took evidence from more than 150 witnesses, and its report runs to 2.6 million words, in 13 volumes. It cost over £10 million to produce. Clearly the House will want the chance to study and debate it in depth, and I am making provision for two full days of debate next week.

There are a number of key questions that are rightly asked about Iraq. Did we go to war on a false premise? Were decisions taken properly, including the consideration of legal advice? Was the operation properly planned? Were we properly prepared for the aftermath of the initial conflict? Did our forces have adequate funding and equipment? I will try to summarise the key findings on these questions before turning to the lessons that I believe should be learned.

A number of reasons were put forward for going to war in Iraq, including the danger that Saddam posed to his people and to the region, and the need to uphold United Nations resolutions. However, as everyone in this House will remember, central to the Government’s case was the issue of weapons of mass destruction. Sir John finds that there was an “ingrained belief” genuinely held in both the UK and US Governments that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical and biological capabilities, and that he wanted to redevelop his nuclear capabilities and was pursuing an active policy of deceit and concealment.

There were some good reasons for this belief. Saddam had built up chemical weapons in the past and he had used them against Kurdish civilians and the Iranian military. He had given international weapons inspectors the run-around for years. The report clearly reflects that the advice given to the Government by the intelligence and policy community was that Saddam did indeed continue to possess and seek to develop these capabilities.

However, as we now know, by 2003 this long-held belief no longer reflected the reality. Sir John says:

“At no stage was the proposition that Iraq might no longer have chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or programmes identified and examined by either the”

Joint Intelligence Committee

“or the policy community.”

And as the report notes, the late Robin Cook had shown that it was possible to come to a different conclusion from an examination of the same intelligence.

In the wake of 9/11, the Americans were also understandably concerned about the risk of weapons of mass destruction finding their way into the hands of terrorists. Sir John finds that while it was reasonable to be concerned about the potential fusion of proliferation and terrorism, there was

“no basis in the JIC Assessments to suggest that Iraq itself represented such a threat.”

On the question of intelligence, Sir John finds no evidence that intelligence was improperly included, or that No. 10—or Mr Blair personally—improperly influenced the text of the September 2002 dossier, but he does find that the use of Joint Intelligence Committee material in public presentation did not make clear enough the limitations or the subtleties of assessment. He says that the assessed intelligence

“had not established beyond doubt either that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons or that efforts to develop nuclear weapons continued”,

and he says that the Joint Intelligence Committee

“should have made that clear to Mr Blair.”

Sir John also finds that public statements from the Government conveyed more certainty than the Joint Intelligence Committee assessments. There was a lack of clarity about the distinction between what the JIC assessed and what Mr Blair believed. Referring to the text in Mr Blair’s foreword to the September 2002 dossier, he finds

“a distinction between”

Mr Blair’s

“beliefs and the JIC’s actual judgements.”

But in his words Sir John does not question Mr Blair’s belief or his legitimate role in advocating Government policy.

Turning to the question of legality, the inquiry has “not expressed a view as to whether or not the UK’s participation in the war was legal.” However, it does quote the legal advice which the Attorney General gave at the time and on which the Government acted—namely, that there was a legal basis for action. Nevertheless, Sir John is highly critical of the processes by which the legal advice was arrived at and discussed. He says:

“The circumstances in which it was ultimately decided that there was a legal basis for UK participation were far from satisfactory.”

I am sure hon. Members will want to study that part of the report carefully.

Sir John also finds that the diplomatic options had not at that stage been exhausted, and that

“Military action was therefore not a last resort.”

Sir John says that when the second resolution at the UN became unachievable, the UK should have done more to exhaust all diplomatic options, including allowing the inspectors longer to complete their job.

Turning to the decision making, the report documents carefully the processes that were followed. There was a Cabinet discussion before the decision to go to war. A number of Ministers, including the Foreign and Defence Secretaries, were involved in much of the decision making. However, the report makes some specific criticisms of the process of decision making. In particular, when it came to the options for military action, it is clear that these were never discussed properly by a Cabinet Committee or Cabinet. Arrangements were often informal and sporadic, and frequently involved a small group of Ministers and advisers, sometimes without formal records.

Sir John finds that at crucial points, Mr Blair sent personal notes and made important commitments to Mr Bush that had not been discussed or agreed with Cabinet colleagues. However, while Sir John makes many criticisms of process, including the way information was handled and presented, at no stage does he explicitly say that there was a deliberate attempt to mislead people.

Turning to operational planning, the initial invasion proceeded relatively rapidly, and we should be proud of what our armed forces managed to achieve so quickly. This was despite the fact that the military did not really have time to plan properly for an invasion from the south, because they had been focused on the north until a late decision from the Turkish Government to refuse entry through their territory. It was also in spite of issues over equipment, which I will turn to later.

But a bigger question was around the planning for what might happen after the initial operation, and we mentioned this briefly at Prime Minister’s questions. Sir John finds that

“when the invasion began, the UK government was not in a position to conclude that satisfactory plans had been drawn up and preparations made to meet known post-conflict challenges and risks in Iraq.”

He adds that the Government

“lacked clear Ministerial oversight of post-conflict strategy, planning and preparation and effective co-ordination between government departments”


“failed to analyse or manage those risks adequately.”

The Government—and here I mean officials and the military, as well as Ministers—remained too fixed on assumptions that the Americans had a plan, that the UN would play a significant role, with the international community sharing the burden, and that the UK role would be over three to four months after the conflict had ended. Sir John concludes that the Government’s failure to prepare properly for the aftermath of the conflict

“reduced the likelihood of achieving the UK’s strategic objectives in Iraq.”

And Sir John concludes that anticipating these post-conflict problems—and I quote, as I did at Prime Minister’s questions—

“did not require the benefit of hindsight.”

Turning to equipment and troops, Sir John is clear that the UK failed to match resources to the objectives. Sir John says categorically that

“delays in providing adequate medium weight Protected Patrol Vehicles and the failure to meet the needs of UK forces…for ISTAR and helicopters should not have been tolerated”,

and he says:

“the MOD was slow in responding to the developing threat in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices.”

The inquiry also identified a number of moments when it would have been possible to conduct a substantial reappraisal of our approach to the whole situation in Iraq and the level of resources required. But despite a series of warnings from commanders in the field, Sir John finds that no such reappraisal took place. Furthermore, during the first four years, there was

“no clear statement of policy setting out the acceptable level of risk to UK forces and who was responsible for managing that risk.”

Sir John also finds that the Government—and in particular the military—were too focused on withdrawing from Iraq and planning for an Afghan deployment in 2006, and that further drew effort away.

Sir John concludes that although Tony Blair succeeded in persuading America to go back to the UN in 2002, he was unsuccessful in changing the US position on other critical decisions, and that

“in the absence of a majority in the Security Council in support of military action at that point, the UK was undermining the authority of the Security Council”.

While it is right for a UK Prime Minister to weigh up carefully the damage to the special relationship that would be done by failing to support the US, Sir John says that it is questionable whether not participating militarily on this occasion would have broken the partnership. He says there was a substantial gap from the outset between the ambitious UK objectives and the resources that Government were prepared to commit, and that even with more resources, the circumstances surrounding the invasion made it difficult to deliver substantive outcomes.

While the territorial integrity of Iraq remained, deep sectarian divisions opened, and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians lost their lives. While these divisions were not created by the international coalition, Sir John believes they were exacerbated, including through the extent of de-Ba’athification, and they were not addressed by an effective programme of reconciliation. Overall, Sir John finds that the policy of Her Majesty’s Government fell far short of meeting its strategic objectives and helped to create a space for al-Qaeda.

Of course, the decision to go to war came to a vote in this House, and Members on all sides who voted for military action will have to take our fair share of the responsibility. We cannot turn the clock back, but we can ensure that lessons are learned and acted on. I will turn to these in a moment and cover all the issues around machinery of government, proper processes, culture and planning, some of which we discussed in Prime Minister’s questions, but let me be the first to say that getting all of these things right does not guarantee the success of a military intervention.

For example, on Libya, I believe it was right to intervene to stop Gaddafi slaughtering his people. In that case, we did have a United Nations Security Council resolution. We did have proper processes. We did have comprehensive advice on all the key issues. And we did not put our forces on the ground. Instead we worked with a transitional Libyan Government. But getting these things right does not make the challenges of intervention any less formidable. The difficulties in Libya are plain for everyone to see today.

As the Prime Minister for the last six years, reading this report, I believe there are some lessons that we do need to learn and, frankly, keep on learning. First, taking the country to war should always be a last resort and should only be done if all credible alternatives have been exhausted.

Secondly, the machinery of government does matter. That is why, on my first day in office, I established the National Security Council to ensure proper co-ordinated decision making across the whole of government, including those responsible for domestic security. This council is not just a meeting of Ministers; it has the right breadth of expertise in the room, with the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, the heads of the intelligence services, and relevant senior officials. The Attorney General is now a member of the National Security Council.

I also appointed the UK’s first national security adviser, with a properly constituted team in the Cabinet Office to ensure that all the key parts of our national security apparatus are joined up. The national security machinery also taps the experience and knowledge of experts from outside Government. This helps us to constantly challenge conventional wisdom within the system and avoid, hopefully, group-think. It is inconceivable today that we could take a premeditated decision to commit combat troops without a full and challenging discussion in the National Security Council, on the basis of full papers, including written legal advice, prepared and stress-tested by all relevant departments, with decisions formally minuted.

Thirdly, I would argue also that the culture established by Prime Ministers matters too. It is crucial to good decision making that a Prime Minister establishes a climate in which it is safe for officials and other experts to challenge existing policy and question the views of Ministers, and the Prime Minister, without fear or favour. There is no question today but that everyone sat around the NSC table is genuinely free to speak their mind.

Fourthly, if we are to take the difficult decisions to intervene in other countries, proper planning for what follows is vital. We know that the task of rebuilding effective governance is enormous. That is why we created a conflict, stability and stabilisation fund, and beefed up the cross-government stabilisation unit, so that experts are able to deploy in post-conflict situations anywhere in the world at short notice. Frankly, none of this would be possible without the historic decision that we have taken to commit 0.7% of our gross national income on overseas aid. A lot of that money is spent on conflict-affected and fragile states, not only assisting with post-conflict planning but also trying to prevent conflicts in the first place.

Fifthly, we must ensure that our armed forces are always properly equipped and resourced. That is why we now conduct a regular strategic defence and security review to ensure that the resources we have meet the ambitions of the national security strategy. We are meeting our NATO commitment to spend 2% of our GDP on defence, and planning to invest at least £178 billion on new military equipment over the next decade. We have also enshrined the armed forces covenant in law to ensure that our armed forces and their families receive the treatment and respect they deserve. Sending our brave troops on to the battlefield without the right equipment was unacceptable, and whatever else we learn from this conflict, we must all pledge that this will never happen again.

There will be further lessons to learn from studying this report, and I commit today that that is exactly what we will do, but in reflecting on this report, and my own experience, there are also some lessons here that I do not think we should draw. First, it would be wrong to conclude that we should not stand with our American allies when our common security interests are threatened. We must never be afraid to speak frankly and honestly, as best friends always should. And where we commit our troops together, there must be a structure through which our views can be properly conveyed and any differences worked through. But it remains the case that Britain and America share the same fundamental values, that Britain has no greater friend or ally in the world than America, and that our partnership remains as important for our security and prosperity today as it has ever been.

Secondly, I think it would be wrong to conclude that we cannot rely on the judgments of our brilliant and hard-working intelligence agencies. We know the debt we owe them in helping to keep us safe every day of the year. Since November 2014, they have enabled us to foil seven different planned terrorist attacks on the streets of the UK. What this report shows is that there needs to be a proper separation between the process of assessing intelligence and the policy making that flows from it. And as a result of the reforms since the Butler report, that is what we have in place.

Thirdly, it would be completely wrong to conclude that our military is not capable of intervening successfully around the world. Many of the failures in this report were not directly about the conduct of the armed forces as they went into Iraq, but rather the failures of planning before a shot was fired. There is no question but that Britain’s armed forces remain the envy of the world, and the decisions we have taken to ensure that they are properly resourced will ensure they stay that way.

Finally, we should not conclude that intervention is always wrong. There are unquestionably times when it is right to intervene, as this country did successfully in Sierra Leone and Kosovo. I am sure that many in this House would agree that there have been times in the recent past when we should have intervened but did not, such as in failing to prevent the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica.

Intervention is hard. War fighting is not always the most difficult part. Often, the state-building that follows is a much more complex challenge. We should not be naive to think that just because we have the best prepared plans, in the real world things cannot go wrong. Equally, just because intervention is difficult, it does not mean that there are not times when it is right and necessary.

Yes, Britain has to, and will continue to, learn the lessons of this report. But as with our intervention against Daesh in Iraq and Syria today, Britain must not and will not shrink from its role on the world stage or fail to protect its people. I commend this statement to the House.

David Cameron – 2016 Statement on EU Council Meeting


Below is the text of the statement made in the House of Commons by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on 29 June 2016.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement on yesterday’s European Council.

This was the first Council since Britain decided to leave the European Union. The decision was accepted and we began constructive discussions about how to ensure a strong relationship between Britain and the countries of the EU.

But before the discussion on Britain, there were a number of other items on the agenda. Let me touch on them briefly.

On migration, the Council noted the very significant reductions in illegal crossings from Turkey to Greece as a result of the agreement made with Turkey in March. But it expressed continued concern over the central Mediterranean route and a determination to do all we can to combat people smuggling via Libya.

Britain continues to play a leading role in Operation Sophia with HMS Enterprise. And I can tell the House today that Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay will also be deployed to stop the flow of weapons to terrorists, particularly Daesh, in Libya.

On NATO, Secretary General Stoltenberg gave a presentation ahead of the Warsaw summit and the Council agreed the need for NATO and the EU to work together in a complementary way to strengthen our security.

On completing the single market, there were important commitments on the digital single market, including that EU residents will be able to travel with the digital content they have purchased or subscribed to at home.

And on the economic situation, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB) gave a presentation in the light of the outcome of our referendum.

Private sector forecasts discussed at the Council included estimates of a reduction in eurozone growth potentially between 0.3% and 0.5% over the next 3 years. One of the main explanations for this is the predicted slowdown in the UK economy, given our trade with the euro area.

President Draghi reassured the Council that the ECB has worked with the Bank of England for many months to prepare for uncertainty, and in the face of continued volatility our institutions will continue to monitor markets and act as necessary.

Mr Speaker, returning to the main discussions around Britain leaving the EU, the tone of the meeting was one of sadness and regret. But there was an agreement that the decision of the British people should be respected.

We had positive discussions about the relationship we want to see between Britain and our European partners, and the next steps on leaving the EU, including some of the issues that need to be worked through and the timing for triggering Article 50.

Let me say a word about each.

First, we were clear that while Britain is leaving the European Union, we are not turning our backs on Europe – and they are not turning their backs on us.

Many of my counterparts talked warmly about the history and values that our countries share and the huge contribution that Britain has made to peace and progress in Europe.

For example, the Estonian Prime Minister described how the Royal Navy helped to secure the independence of his country a century ago. The Czech Prime Minister paid tribute to Britain as home for Czechs fleeing persecution.

Many of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe expressed the debt they feel to Britain for standing by them when they were suffering under communism and for supporting them as they joined the European Union.

And President Hollande talked movingly about the visit that he and I will be making later this week to the battlefields of the Somme, where British and French soldiers fought and died together for the freedom of our continent, and the defence of the democracy and the values that we share.

So the Council was clear that as we take forward this agenda of Britain leaving the European Union, we should rightly want to have the closest possible relationship that we can in the future.

In my view this should include the strongest possible relationship in terms of trade, co-operation and of course security, something that only becomes more important in the light of the appalling terrorist attack in Turkey last night.

Mr Speaker, as I said on Monday, as we work to implement the will of the British people, we also have a fundamental responsibility to bring our country together. We will not tolerate hate crime or any kind of attacks against people in our country because of their ethnic origin. And I reassured European leaders who were concerned about what they had heard was happening in Britain. We are a proud multi-faith, multi-ethnic society – and we will stay that way.

Turning to the next steps on leaving the EU, first there was a lot of reassurance that until Britain leaves, we are a full member. That means we are entitled to all the benefits of membership and full participation until the point at which we leave.

Second, we discussed some of the issues which will need to be worked through. I explained that in Britain there was great concern about the movement of people and the challenges of controlling immigration, as well as concerns about the issue of sovereignty.

In turn, many of our European partners were clear that it is impossible to have all of the benefits of membership without some of the costs of membership. And that is something that the next Prime Minister and their Cabinet is going to have to work through very carefully.

Third, on the timing for Article 50, contrary to some expectations, there wasn’t a great clamour for Britain to trigger this straight away. While there were 1 or 2 voices calling for this, the overwhelming view of my fellow-leaders was that we need to take some time to get this right.

Of course, everyone wants to see a clear blueprint appear in terms of what Britain thinks is right for its future relationship with the EU. And as I explained in my statement on Monday, we are starting this work straightaway with the new unit in Whitehall, which will be led by a new Permanent Secretary Oliver Robbins.

This unit will examine all the options and possibilities in a neutral way, setting out their costs and benefits so that the next Prime Minister and their Cabinet have all the information they need with which to determine exactly the right approach to take and the right outcome to negotiate.

But the decisions that follow from this – including the triggering of Article 50 – are rightly for the next Prime Minister and the Council clearly understood and respected that.

Mr Speaker, I don’t think it’s a secret that I have, at times, found discussions in Brussels frustrating. But despite that, I do believe we can be proud of what we have achieved.

Whether it is putting a greater focus on jobs and growth, cutting the EU budget in real terms for the first time and reducing the burden of red tape on business, or building common positions on issues of national security, such as sanctions to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon, standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine and galvanising other European countries to help with the lead that Britain was taking in dealing with Ebola in Sierra Leone.

In all these ways, and more, we have shown how much we have in common with our European partners, as neighbours and allies who share fundamental values, history and culture.

It is a poignant reminder that while we will be leaving the European Union we must continue to work together, for the security and prosperity of our people for generations to come.

And I commend this statement to the House.

David Cameron – 2016 Press Conference after EU Referendum Result


Below is the text of the press conference held by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in Brussels on 28 June 2016.

Good evening everyone. I’ve been coming to these European Councils for 6 years now, and barring an emergency council, of which there have been many in the last 6 years, this will be my last one. They can often be long and frustrating and difficult, but when I’ve attended these councils I’ve always remembered that this is an organisation and this is a formula that has brought together countries that not that many years ago were in conflict, and in spite of all the frustrations I’ve always found it very reassuring that we had found a way to talk and to work together and to resolve our differences in dialogue and in argument. And so as I leave the European Council, probably for the last time, I pay tribute to all of the presidents and prime ministers and everyone who works here who have made these meetings as successful as they have been.

Tonight obviously was an important meeting. It’s the first time that the European Council have met since the British people voted to leave the European Union, and there was universal respect for this decision, and this decision will be carried through in Britain and it is understood that it will be carried through here in the European Union.

But of course the tone of the meeting was one of sadness and regret. Our partners in the European Union are genuinely sad that we are planning to leave this organisation, and that was very much the tone of the discussions at the dinner tonight. But they were very constructive discussions, they were very positive, they were very calm, they were very understanding that Britain should seek and Europe should seek the closest possible relations as Britain leaves the EU. Close relations over trade, over cooperation, over security. While Britain is leaving the European Union, it will not, it should not, and in my view it won’t turn its back on Europe.

In many ways, I wish the people at home had been able to hear some of the discussion we had at dinner tonight. The countries, our partners, our friends, our allies, talking about the values that we share, the history that we share and the things that Britain has brought to Europe. The Estonian Prime Minister talking about how the Royal Navy helped to secure the independence of his country a hundred years ago. The Czech Prime Minister talking about how Britain had been a home for Czechs fleeing persecution in their own country in 1948, in 1968. Those countries of Eastern and Central Europe that feel such a debt to Britain for standing by them when they were suffering under communism and for supporting them as they joined the European Union. The French President, talking about the visit that we will be making later this week to the battlefields of the Somme, where British and French soldiers fought and died together for the freedom of our continent and for democracy and the values that we share. As I say, it was – the Maltese Prime Minister, talking about the extraordinary history between our countries. The Irish Prime Minister pointing out that between the 11th century and for centuries to follow, England and Ireland had been in conflict, but recently – and he said now – our relationship has never been closer, and that what a good partner we had been to them, both inside the European Union and today.

So, as I say, a positive, constructive, calm, purposeful meeting about how we should now take forward this agenda of Britain leaving the European Union but wanting to have, I think rightly, the closest possible relationship that we can in future. There was a lot of reassurance that until Britain leaves, Britain is a full paying member of this organisation and so is entitled to all of the benefits of membership and full participation until the point at which we leave.

I think there were some very important messages tonight. Obviously messages that the economic problems and challenges that we face in Britain are also problems and challenges that are going to be faced in the rest of Europe. A very important message that, while we seek the best possible partnership that we can after leaving the European Union, it is impossible to have all of the benefits of membership without some of the costs of membership. That is something the next British government is going to have to think through very carefully.

And also, while I think what you might have read and seen about a clamour for Britain to trigger Article 50 without delay, that was not the mood of the meeting, that was not what the clear majority of my colleagues and partners said. But of course everybody wants to see a clear model appear in terms of what Britain thinks is right for its future relationship with Europe. That is work that I can start as Prime Minister today with the new unit that we’re setting up in Whitehall. We can examine all the different options and possibilities in a neutral way, and look at the costs and the benefits, but it will be for the next British Prime Minister to determine – and the next British cabinet to determine – exactly the right approach to take and the right outcome to negotiate, and that decision to trigger Article 50 will be for the next British Prime Minister and the next cabinet, I would suspect, after they’ve made that decision about the outcome they want to pursue.

As I said earlier today, when I look around that table, when I think of Europe, I think of our neighbours, I think of our allies, I think of our friends, I think of our partners, and we should be trying to find the closest relationship we can from outside the European Union to work with them over the things that are in our joint interest. Trade, our economies, making sure that we can have prosperity and success for our citizens, keeping our countries safe, keeping our people safe, and it’s particularly important to say that tonight again when there has been another hideous terrorist attack in Turkey. Working together in all the ways that I suggested. That is what I think we should be aiming for.

As I said at the start of this statement, this is probably my last European Council after 6 years of coming here. As I said, obviously there have been frustrations and councils that have been more successful than others, but I would say we’ve made huge progress on driving jobs and growth, and that has benefited the United Kingdom, as we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the last 6 years. We have actually managed to reduce the quantity of red tape and bureaucracy that is coming out of Brussels. When it has come to the foreign policy of building common positions, whether that is putting sanctions against Iran to prevent it having a nuclear weapon, a strong approach against Russian aggression in Ukraine, or indeed galvanising other European countries to help with the lead that Britain was taking in dealing with Ebola in Sierra Leone, there have been many good things that we have been able to drive forward that have been good for Britain, good for Europe, and I would argue good for the wider world.

But let me finish again where I began. Britain will be leaving European Union, but we will not be turning our backs on Europe. These are our friends, our allies and partners. I feel that very personally with the people I’ve been working with for the last 6 years, and I’m sure that my successor will want to have a strong relationship with the European Union and strong bilateral relations with all those prime ministers and presidents who sit around the table. We have a huge amount in common with each other in terms of the values, of democracy and freedom, and human rights, and wanting to see progress and sharing the challenges that we face as European nations.

Thank you very much for coming.


Prime Minister, you’ve given a very clear defence of your decision to call this referendum, but given what’s happened since to Europe, to your country, to your party and to your career, is there a small part of you that wishes you’d never done it?

Prime Minister

Well, obviously I wish I’d won the referendum. That goes without saying. But I came to believe, for very good reasons, that this issue of Britain’s relationship with Europe and our position in the European Union was something that we needed to try and settle. It has dogged our politics, and I think it was right to, with this question, instead of leaving it to Parliament, to raise it to the people themselves. Because of course, in the time I’ve been active in politics, we’ve had the Nice Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty and all the rest of it. And you cannot go on changing the arrangements under which the British people are governed without asking them about whether they approve of those arrangements.

Now, I’m sorry we lost the referendum. I think we made a very strong case. But you have to accept the result of the British people, accept the verdict. I’m a democrat, and so of course I regret the outcome, but I don’t regret holding the referendum. I think it was the right thing to do. I’ve been immensely proud to be Prime Minister of our country for 6 years. It’s been a huge honour. But at the end of the day, you fight for what you believe in, and if you win, good; if you lose, then you have to accept the verdict. And the verdict I accept is not only that Britain has voted to leave the European Union, but it is right for a fresh leader to come along and take on that challenge of the next chapter in our country’s story, that someone new needs to come and take us to the next destination. What I think I can do is provide the stability we need right now, and start the work of setting out what the options are, so the new Prime Minister can come in and make those decisions.


There are young people at home right now who are very worried about what you and your party have done to the country. There are parents who are worried about what you and your party have done to their jobs. There are employers who are worried about what you and your party have done to their businesses. What would you say to them?

Prime Minister

Well, I would say that we had a very full debate about Britain’s future in Europe – whether to stay or whether to leave. I threw everything into that debate, and made the arguments I think as clear as I possibly could. But I’m a democrat and we are a democratic country and the British people have decided the direction in which we should go, and I think we have to accept that and put it into place. As we do so, we should make sure that Britain remains as close as it can to the countries and partners in the European Union, and that we act to provide the economic stability that we need. But at the end of the day, you know, you cannot simply leave to Parliament decisions about the nature of the way in which we’re governed; those are ultimately, I think, decisions for the people, particularly when there’s been so much change. And I’ll make that point that when Parliament actually had the opportunity to vote on the referendum, it voted by a margin of 6 to 1 to hold that referendum, and I think that’s an important point to make too.


Did you go into any detail with your European partners on perhaps why you lost the referendum, and did you have any advice for them on perhaps areas that played a huge part in the campaign, such as immigration, freedom of movement, for the deal which your successor will now have to do?

Prime Minister

Yes, I did talk about what I think happened in the referendum. I think people recognised the strength of the economic case for staying, but there was a very great concern about the movement of people and immigration, and I think that’s coupled with a concern about the issues of sovereignty and the ability to control these things. And I think, you know, we need to think about that, Europe needs to think about that, and I think that is going to be one of the major tasks for the next Prime Minister.

I think obviously it is a difficult thing, because the European Union sees the single market as a single market of goods and services and capital. These things go together.


Can you give us any more indication of the timing for triggering Article 50? You said that it should be after the Cabinet has decided what the options should be. Do you see any sort of backstop of when that ought to be?

Prime Minister

Well, that would be a matter for the new Prime Minister. It’s a sovereign decision for Britain. The sense I was getting from our partners and colleagues upstairs was there’s a lot of understanding – of course there are some people who say, “look, this should be triggered straight away, it’s the only way to leave the European Union.” You know, there are 1 or 2 people saying that, and I totally understand that.

But I’d say the overwhelming view is we need to get this right. We shouldn’t take too much time. Triggering Article 50 will really work better if both sides know what they’re trying to achieve in the negotiation that’s about to begin. And I think there does need to be some intensive work by first of all the Civil Service and myself, and then by the new Prime Minister, whoever he or she is, to then decide on what the negotiating aims are for Britain, the type of model that we want to achieve, and then it’ll be a decision for the British Prime Minister to take. So I can’t put a time frame on that, but I think that is the right approach, I think that makes sense.


A friend of yours I believe, an ally of yours, Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, had a very stark verdict. He said, “England has collapsed politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically.” What do you say to that?

And can I ask you on a much more personal basis, having followed you all the years you’ve been Prime Minister, I sense this is a sad night for you personally. Do you feel a sadness, a wistfulness, perhaps even an anger and regret that when you leave tonight, for the first time in our nation’s history, there will be an empty chair, Britain will not be represented at a major international summit?

Prime Minister

Well, first of all of course, there won’t be an empty chair until Britain leaves the European Union. We remain full members all the way up to the point at which Britain leaves.

In terms of your first question, we are the fifth largest economy in the world; we have fundamentally strengthened our economy over the last 6 years. We are members of the UN Security Council; members of NATO, which will be meeting shortly; members of the G7, which has just met; members of the G20 that’ll be meeting in September; a leading member of the Commonwealth, and of course we will be hosting the Commonwealth Conference in 2018. Britain is still one of the best connected nations anywhere in the world.

Now, what we have to do is to work out, now we’re leaving the European Union, how we maintain a strong relationship both with the European Union and with the countries that make it up. And that’s going to be a challenge, it’s not going to easy, but it is perfectly possible to do. We have to obey the will of the British people and get that right.

So, I mean, as I said, of course it’s a sad night for me, because I didn’t want to be in this position; I wanted Britain to stay in a reformed European Union, and that hard-won negotiation, which took a lot of hard work, that now is not operative. So getting out of ever closer union, getting a deal to restrict welfare for people coming into the UK, cutting bureaucracy and all the rest of it – those things aren’t going to happen, which obviously again I’m personally sad about, because I think that was a far better outcome than the status quo, and better than leaving.

At the end of the day, I’m a democrat. I fought very hard for what I believed in. I didn’t stand back and say, “Well, either outcome is interesting, one’s slightly better than the other.” I threw myself in, head, heart and soul, to keep Britain in the European Union, and I didn’t succeed. And in politics, you have to recognise that you fight, and when you win you carry out your programme, but when you lose, sometimes you have to say, “Right, I’ve lost that argument, I’ve lost that debate, it’s right to hand over to someone else who’ll take the country forward.”

Now, of course I’m sad about that, but frankly I’m more concerned about Britain getting its relationship right with Europe. That is a far bigger thing than whether I’m Prime Minister for 6 years or 7 years or what have you. Actually getting that relationship right is far more important. And one of the things I said to my colleagues tonight is that obviously I won’t be the Prime Minister that’s going to complete this negotiation, but I’ll certainly do everything I can with the relationships I have – with prime ministers and presidents in Europe and with the European Council and Commission, everything I can to try and encourage a close relationship between Britain and the European Union and the countries of the European Union, and I will do everything I can back in Britain to make sure that we argue for that close relationship.

Now, that will involve compromises. I don’t want to set out what I think those will be – that’s going to be a matter for the next Prime Minister – but I think that whether you are listening to young people, or businesses, or constituent parts of the United Kingdom, or our friends and allies around the world from Bangladesh to New Zealand, all of those countries will want to see Britain have a strong relationship with the European Union, and we need to make those arguments in our own domestic politics, as well as around the chancelleries of Europe, and that’s something that I will certainly do even after I have stopped being Prime Minister.

Can I thank you all very much indeed for coming. Slightly better attended press conference than some of the ones I’ve done over the last 6 years, but you’re all very welcome. Thank you.

David Cameron – 2016 Resignation Speech


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on 24 June 2016 following the referendum result to leave the EU.

The country has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise – perhaps the biggest in our history. Over 33 million people – from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar – have all had their say.

We should be proud of the fact that in these islands we trust the people with these big decisions.

We not only have a parliamentary democracy, but on questions about the arrangements for how we are governed, there are times when it is right to ask the people themselves – and that is what we have done.

The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected.

I want to thank everyone who took part in the campaign on my side of the argument, including all those who put aside party differences to speak in what they believed was the national interest.

And let me congratulate all those who took part in the leave campaign – for the spirited and passionate case that they made.

The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered. It was not a decision that was taken lightly, not least because so many things were said by so many different organisations about the significance of this decision.

So there can be no doubt about the result.

Across the world people have been watching the choice that Britain has made. I would reassure those markets and investors that Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong.

And I would also reassure Brits living in European countries and European citizens living here that there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances. There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union. This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments, to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced.

But above all this will require strong, determined and committed leadership.

I am very proud and very honoured to have been Prime Minister of this country for six years.

I believe we have made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history; with reforms to welfare and education; increasing people’s life chances; building a bigger and stronger society; keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world, and enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality.

But above all restoring Britain’s economic strength, and I am grateful to everyone who has helped to make that happen.

I have also always believed that we have to confront big decisions – not duck them.

That’s why we delivered the first Coalition government in seventy years to bring our economy back from the brink. It’s why we delivered a fair, legal and decisive referendum in Scotland. And why I made the pledge to renegotiate Britain’s position in the European Union and hold a referendum on our membership, and have carried those things out.

I fought this campaign in the only way I know how – which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel – head, heart and soul.

I held nothing back.

I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union, and I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone – not the future of any single politician, including myself.

But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path, and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.

I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.

This is not a decision I have taken lightly, but I do believe it is in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

There is no need for a precise timetable today, but in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party Conference in October.

Delivering stability will be important and I will continue in post as Prime Minister with my Cabinet for the next three months. The Cabinet will meet on Monday.

The Governor of the Bank of England is making a statement about the steps that the Bank and the Treasury are taking to reassure financial markets. We will also continue taking forward the important legislation that we set before Parliament in the Queen’s Speech. And I have spoken to Her Majesty the Queen this morning to advise her of the steps that I am taking.

A negotiation with the European Union will need to begin under a new Prime Minister, and I think it is right that this new Prime Minister takes the decision about when to trigger article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU.

I will attend the European Council next week to explain the decision the British people have taken and my own decision.

The British people have made a choice. That not only needs to be respected – but those on the losing side of the argument, myself included, should help to make it work.

Britain is a special country.

We have so many great advantages.

A parliamentary democracy where we resolve great issues about our future through peaceful debate; a great trading nation, with our science and arts, our engineering and our creativity respected the world over.

And while we are not perfect, I do believe we can be a model of a multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, where people can come and make a contribution and rise to the very highest that their talent allows.

Although leaving Europe was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible strengths. I have said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union and indeed that we could find a way.

Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way, and I will do everything I can to help.

I love this country – and I feel honoured to have served it.

And I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.

David Cameron – 2016 Speech in Tribute to Jo Cox


Below is the text of the speech made in the House of Commons by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on 20 June 2016.

We are here today to remember an extraordinary colleague and friend. Jo Cox was a voice of compassion, whose irrepressible spirit and boundless energy lit up the lives of all who knew her and saved the lives of many she never ever met. Today, we grieve her loss and we hold in our hearts and prayers her husband Brendan, her parents and sister, and her two children, who are just three and five years old. We express our anger at the sickening and despicable attack that killed her as she did her job serving her constituents on the streets of Birstall. Let me join the Leader of the Opposition in his moving words praising Bernard Kenny and all those who tried to save her. Above all, in this House we pay tribute to a loving, determined, passionate and progressive politician, who epitomised the best of humanity and who proved so often the power of politics to make our world a better place.

I first met Jo in 2006 in Darfur. She was doing what she was so brilliant at: bravely working in one of the most dangerous parts of the world, fighting for the lives of refugees. Her decision to welcome me, then a Conservative Leader of the Opposition, had not been entirely welcomed by all her colleagues and friends, but it was typical of her determination to reach across party lines on issues that she felt were so much more important than party politics. Jo was a humanitarian to her core—a passionate and brilliant campaigner, whose grit and determination to fight for justice saw her, time and time again, driving issues up the agenda and making people listen and, above all, act; drawing attention to conflicts in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; helping to expose the despicable practice of rape in war; her work with Sarah Brown on cutting mortality in childbirth; her support for refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Quite simply, there are people on our planet today who are only here and alive because of Jo.

Jo was a committed democrat and a passionate feminist. She spent years encouraging and supporting women around the world to stand for office, long before she did so herself. When she was elected as an MP, just over a year ago, she said to one of her colleagues that she did not just want to be known for flying around the world tackling international issues, but that she had a profound duty to stand up for the people of Batley and Spen, and she was absolutely as good as her word. As she said in her maiden speech, Jo was proud to be made in Yorkshire and to serve the area in which she had grown up. She belonged there, and in a constituency of truly multi-ethnic, multi-faith communities, she made people feel that they belonged too.

Jo’s politics were inspired by love, and the outpouring and unity of the tributes we have seen in the past few days show the extraordinary reach and impact of her message, for in remembering Jo we show today that what she said in this House is true—and I know it will be quoted many times today:

“we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”—[Official Report, 3 June 2015; Vol. 596, c. 675.]

This Wednesday, as the Leader of the Opposition said, would have been Jo’s 42nd birthday, and there will be a global celebration of her life and values with simultaneous events in New York and Washington, London, Batley, Brussels, Geneva, Nairobi and Beirut. She should of course have been celebrating her birthday by hosting her traditional summer solstice party. It reminds us that behind the formidable professional was a loving and fun mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend, with a warm welcoming smile and so often laughter in her voice. Jo brought people together; she saw the best in people and she brought out the best in them.

A brave adventurer and a keen climber, Jo was never daunted. When most people hear of a place called the Inaccessible Pinnacle, they leave it well alone. Not Jo. She did not just climb it; she abseiled down it, and did so despite a bad case of morning sickness. It was her irrepressible spirit that helped to give her such determination and focus in her politics, too. A Conservative colleague of mine said this weekend:

“If you lost your way for a moment in the cut and thrust of political life, meeting Jo would remind you why you went into politics in the first place.”

There have been so many moving tributes in the past few days, but if I may I would like to quote someone already mentioned—the hon. Member for Wirral South (Alison McGovern):

“We mourn your loss, yet know that all you stood for is unbreakable. We promise to stand up, even though we are broken. We promise that we will never be cowed by hate.”

May we and the generations of Members who follow us in this House honour Jo’s memory by proving that the democracy and freedoms that Jo stood for are indeed unbreakable, by continuing to stand up for our constituents, and by uniting against the hatred that killed her, today and forever more.

David Cameron – 2016 Speech at easyJet on Staying in EU


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, at easyJet in Luton on 24 May 2016.

Thank you, it’s great to be here with you here in Luton, and I am a proud easyJet passenger. You’ve flown me actually all over Europe: Portugal, Majorca, France, Spain, and almost always on time, although I have to admit that I’m not always on time. Actually, as I drove in here this morning, I remember once when I missed a flight altogether and had a lovely night in the Ibis hotel on the way into the airport. So I’ve let you down more often than you’ve let me down.

But it is actually, funnily enough, interesting point: very few people have I stopped on the street to tell them that I think that they’ve done an amazing thing, but actually your founder is one of them. I did do that once, because I think easyJet was a fantastic creation. And today, with whatever it is: 800 routes, 70 million passengers, supporting around 10,000 jobs in our country, this is a fantastic great British success story. So it is a pleasure to be here, talking to you about this vital issue and taking your questions.

Because on 23 June, we’ve got to make a really big decision for the future of our country. General elections are important, of course I believe that, but actually I think this is more important than a general election. If you don’t like the result of a general election, 5 years later you can make a different decision and have a different team running the country. Obviously not something I’m looking forward to, but nonetheless that’s the way the system works.

But this is a really big choice about Britain, and I’m arguing very clearly that we are safer if we stay in, because we can fight terrorism better if we’re part of this team. I think we’ll be stronger, because I think Britain gains from being in these organisations rather than losing by being in them. But crucially, I think we’ll be better off. And it’s not a complicated argument to make. It’s because we’re part of a market of 500 million people; the biggest single market anywhere in the world. And that is good for jobs, it’s good for companies, it’s good for investment, it brings businesses here to Britain. It means great businesses like this one can expand throughout the single market. It’s good for our economy, and so if we were to leave, it would be bad for our economy. It would mean less growth, it would mean fewer jobs, it would mean higher prices. It would mean, as we set out yesterday, a recession for our economy. So we’re better off if we stay in this organisation.

And it’s not a static thing, because of course the single market is still expanding. It’s good we’ve got a single market in aviation; that has massively helped your business. I can remember days, I’m old enough to remember, when flying off on holiday meant getting on a sort of state owned aeroplane and going to a state owned airport in another country, and paying a very high price for it. And as Carolyn has said, prices have come down 40% since the single market has come about, and since the radical transformation that companies like easyJet have brought about.

So I’m quite convinced that when it comes to this economic argument, we are better off if we stay in and we’re worse off if we leave. And as I said, it’s not static, because the single market is going to go into energy, it’s going to go into digital, where we’re a real leader, and it’s going to go further into services industries, which actually make up 80% of our economy. So for those reasons I think we’ll be better off.

And today we’re talking about some quite specific things, some quite ‘retail’ things, if you like, which is what would happen to the cost of a holiday if we were to leave. If we were to leave, and the pound were to fall, which is what most people expect and what the Treasury forecast, that would put up the cost of a typical holiday for a family of 4 to a European destination by £230. It could, as Carolyn has said, put up actually the cost of air travel, because if you’re outside the single market, which is what those who want us to leave think, then you’d face all sorts of bureaucracy and restrictions that you don’t face today.

Another very retail thing that is happening in Europe, and there are a few people with mobile phones right now – don’t worry, film away, this is all live anyway. We’re abolishing roaming charges in the European Union. It’s one of the most annoying things: you’re on holiday, you use your mobile phone, you get an enormous bill. Getting rid of roaming charges could mean on a 10 minute call back to the UK, you’re saving almost £4 on that 10 minute call. So I think there’s some very strong retail arguments about the cost of a holiday, the cost of food, the cost of using your phone, for staying in the European Union.

Now, before I take your questions, I just want to make one other argument, because I think in this debate it’s very important to talk about the specifics, and we have, about jobs and prices and costs of holidays and costs of phone calls. But there is also, in my view, a bigger argument. I don’t believe those people who say, ‘Well, my head says we ought to stay in the European Union but my heart says somehow, we would be a prouder and more patriotic country if we were outside.’ I don’t think that is right. I think this is an amazing country. We are the fifth biggest economy in the world. We’ve done great things in this world. We’re a very interconnected country. What happens on the other side of the world matters to us. We care about tackling climate change; we care about trying to alleviate poverty in Africa; we know we need to have the world’s trade lanes open for British business and enterprise. And I absolutely believe, if you want a big, bold, strong United Kingdom, then you want to be in organisations like a reformed European Union, rather than outside of them. Britain is part of the G7, we’re part of the G20, we’re part of NATO, which helps to keep our defences strong. We are a very important part of the Commonwealth, which brings about a third of humanity together in one organisation. And we’re members of the European Union. Being in these organisations doesn’t diminish our standing and our strength in the world, in my view. It enhances it. So I think the big, bold, patriotic case is to stay in a reformed European Union, to fight for the sort of world that we want, rather than to stand back and be on the outside.

And in a way, that’s sort of what easyJet has done. Here you are, a British based business, but a business that has decided to take on the world in terms of being competitive, running routes all over Europe and beyond, and recognising that is in your interests, your passengers’ interests, your shareholders’ interests, all the people in this room’s interests.

And that’s my argument about Britain: let’s be the big, bold strong Britain inside the reformed European Union rather than voting to leave, and that’s the case I’m going to make every day between now and 23 June, with just under a month to go.

David Cameron – 2016 Speech on the EU Referendum


Below is the text of the speech made by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, at B&Q in Eastleigh on 23 May 2016.

Thank you very much, thank you. Well, thank you for that and a very good morning. Great to be back at B&Q, and thank you all for coming today.

This country has worked incredibly hard to recover from the recession of 7 years ago. Businesses have invested, people have taken risks, companies have come to this country, but above all the people of Britain have worked incredibly hard to get over that recession. And the 2 of us have worked together to try and put the right framework in place. Now we haven’t got every decision right, but the deficit is right down, the economy is growing, we’re creating jobs. Britain is making things again, and making its way in the world again. 2.4 million more people in work. We’ve got low inflation. We’ve almost got a million more businesses than when we first got our jobs in 2010. But yes, we still have a long way to go; yes, there is more to do. But I think there can be no doubt: Britain is on the right track.

Now I don’t want us to do anything that sets us on the wrong track. After all, that’s really the job description of a Prime Minister: to safeguard the nation’s security. Exactly a month from today, we’re going to make a decision that will determine our future security. I believe that leaving the EU would put our security at huge risk, that it would be the wrong track for Britain.

Why? Because, as we know, and as even Leave campaigners now freely admit, we’d lose full access to the European single market. We’d be abandoning the largest marketplace in the world, half a billion people. It’s a market which Britain helped to create, and which is the source of so much of our economic security. Inside that market, our businesses can trade freely and investors can invest here easily. That keeps our economy growing. That keeps our jobs safe, keeps the pounds strong, keeps our families secure. It means that a business from here in Eastleigh can get their goods to market anywhere in the EU, and get better access to all the places with which the EU has trade deals. So no Spanish importers saying to our manufacturers, ‘That doesn’t fit our regulations.’ No French minister saying to our farmers, ‘We don’t buy British beef.’ No tariffs, no barriers, just Britain doing what we need to do, getting out there and trading with our neighbours.

Now leaving this arrangement, our special status in the EU, is a leap in the dark, because no one has said what we’d have in its place. Now we already heard last month, from the Treasury, that the long-term impact of leaving would be a cost to every household equivalent to £4,300. Today we publish analysis of what would happen in the short term, in the immediate months and years after a British exit. As businesses freeze up, confidence drains, uncertainty clouds over, and an economic shock shakes our nation.

Now, the Chancellor will go into the details shortly, but I just want to focus on the impact it would have on your life, the job you do, the home you live in. Your weekly shop, your monthly bills. These things are all at risk. As the Bank of England has said, as the IMF has underlined, and as now the Treasury has confirmed, the shock to our economy after leaving Europe would tip the country into recession. This could be, for the first time in history, a recession brought on ourselves. As I stand here in B&Q, it would be a DIY recession. And it really matters to everyone.

Someone actually asked, in this debate, the other day, you know, “That’s the economic case. What about the moral case?” But don’t they realise that the economic case is the moral case? The moral case for keeping parents in work, firms in business, the pound in health, Britain in credit. The moral case for providing economic opportunity rather than unemployment for the next generation. Where is the morality in putting any of that at risk for some unknown end? This government was elected just over a year ago to deliver security at every stage of life, to build a greater Britain out of a great recession, and, after all the pain, all the sacrifice of the British people, why would we want to put it at risk again? It would be like surviving a fall and then running straight back to the cliff edge. It is the self destruct option.

So much of this debate is muddied and overshadowed by speculation about who says what about whom, and who’s in this camp or that camp. We need to strip away the drama, and focus on real life, because this isn’t about political parties or personalities or Prime Ministers. It’s about you, about your money and your life. The stakes couldn’t be higher, the risks couldn’t be greater, and, in my view, the choice couldn’t be clearer. Leave Europe and put at risk what we’ve achieved; stay in Europe, and stay on the right track.

And now it’s time to hear that analysis of the short-term impact. So over to you, Chancellor.

[The Chancellor’s speech is available here.]