Brexit has “turned out less badly than we first thought”, David Cameron has said.
The former prime minister was recorded at the World Economic Forum in Davos saying the Leave vote was “a mistake not a disaster”.
Mr Cameron called the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, campaigned to stay in and resigned after the Leave side won.
His apparently unguarded comments were highlighted by Channel 5 News.
“As I keep saying, it’s a mistake not a disaster,” he was heard saying in a conversation with steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.
“It’s turned out less badly than we first thought. But it’s still going to be difficult.”
The Remain campaign during the referendum warned of an immediate economic impact on the UK of a vote to leave the European Union.
In a speech to Vauxhall car workers, in Ellesmere Port, four months before the referendum, he warned voters about the economic shock that he said would be caused by a vote for Brexit.
“Let’s just remember what a shock really means. It means pressure on the pound sterling. It means jobs being lost. It means mortgage rates might rise. It means businesses closing. It means hardworking people losing their livelihoods.”
He stepped up his warnings as the referendum date approach, telling MPs on 15 June 2016 “nobody wants to have an emergency Budget, nobody wants to have cuts in public services, nobody wants to have tax increases”, but the economic “crisis” that would follow a vote to leave could not be ignored.
“We can avoid all of this by voting Remain next week,” he added.
He described a vote to leave the EU as a “self-destruct option” for the UK, after a Treasury analysis warned it would tip the UK into a year-long recession, with up to 820,000 jobs lost within two years.
Although the pound fell sharply after the vote, the UK economy has continued to grow, and unemployment has fallen to a 42-year low. Mortgage rates have stayed at generally the same low levels they have been since the financial crisis on 2008.
The UK and the EU are currently negotiating the terms for the UK’s exit and future relations – with the date of Brexit set as 29 March 2019.
Source: BBC News