Issued: July 13, 2016
STATEMENT: David Cameron
As David Cameron leaves Downing Street today I am optimistic about his legacy.
As he closed his last Prime Minister’s questions he talked of being guided by the principle of public service in the national interest. This was his defining characteristic.
When I look back on the six years of his Premiership I am struck by his sense of service characterised by his calm and steady approach.
He has led the country through the economic turmoil he inherited, headed a historical coalition Government with the Liberal Democrats, recalibrated Government so it is fit to deal with changing population demographics and in an age of international instability he brought the country safely through war and peace.
In these circumstances some of David’s domestic achievements are extraordinary.
On average a thousand jobs have been created each day he has been in Office. He has taken 4 million of the lowest paid out of tax altogether. 2.9 million young people have undertaken apprenticeships over the last six years. He has cut the deficit by a half whilst presiding over a 10% rise in funding for the NHS. He has left the UK in a better position that it was when he took over as Prime Minister.
The Conservative Party has also greatly benefited from David’s leadership which has been characterised by his focus on modernisation.
His most striking success is the first majority Conservative Government in over 20 years. This electoral success, however, has been accompanied by steady work on improving the Tory brand.
He has brought more women into the Conservative Party and Parliament, shown concern for the environment, stood up for the poorest through international aid, introduced a living wage and championed and delivered equal marriage.
It is fitting that he is succeeded by a female Prime Minister who is sure to continue on this modernising path.
As Deputy Speaker I recognise David as a dedicated Parliamentarian. He has appeared before Parliament with unprecedented regularity and in doing so has contributed to an increase in executive scrutiny. He has done this with respect, wit, grace, intelligence and an unparalleled mastery of the Despatch Box. His willingness to attend Parliament has evidenced an important quality in Prime Ministers – deference to the importance of the separation of powers in our constitution.
It is not possible to consider David’s legacy without mentioning Referendums. Some might say Referendums have been a blight on his legacy. He was, however, elected to serve the people and the people were asking for Referendums. He was right to entrust the people. Our duty to the Prime Minister who gave us a choice must be to ensure that having voted, we now make the best of Brexit.
David Cameron has never been a radical Prime Minister. This is to his credit given the challenges the UK has faced. His calmness in the face of adversity has reassured the country and the international community.
As we turn our attention towards Theresa May’s Premiership, I was, however, struck by David Cameron’s final comment. A radical encouragement that nothing is impossible and a suggestion that now, we are the future.