David Cameron signed off as British prime minister with advice for successor Theresa May to keep the UK “as close to the European Union as possible”.
After being forced out of the premiership by last month’s referendum vote to quit the EU, Mr Cameron won a standing ovation from Conservative MPs and applause from some of the opposition as he ended his last session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons by telling them: “I was the future once.”
Urged by veteran Tory Kenneth Clarke to remain an “active participant” as the House copes with the fallout from Brexit, Mr Cameron said: “I will watch these exchanges from the back benches.
"I will miss the roar of the crowd, I will miss the barbs from the opposition, but I will be willing you on.”
Speaking of his pride at presiding over record employment, improved school standards, the introduction of gay marriage, and lifting low-paid people out of income tax, Mr Cameron told MPs: “You can achieve a lot of things in politics ... In the end, public service, the national interest, that’s what it’s all about.”
Watched from the public gallery by wife Samantha and children Nancy, Elwen and Florence, Mr Cameron paid tribute to the support he had received from his family, telling MPs: “The pressure often bears hardest on those around us in this job.”
And in response to the news that the family are leaving the Downing Street cat behind at Number 10, he assured MPs: “I love Larry.”
Listing his engagements for the day, Mr Cameron joked that “other than one meeting this afternoon with Her Majesty the Queen, my diary for the rest of the day is remarkably light”.
Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan paid tribute to Mr Cameron’s “hard work and leadership” and suggested that he might be interested in taking up positions which had become available as manager of the England football team, presenter of BBC One’s Top Gear or president of the US.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested he could take up Len Goodman’s job on Strictly Come Dancing — though the prime minister admitted “I don’t really have a pasa doble”.
Despite devoting the bulk of his six questions to housing and Europe, Mr Corbyn paid tribute to Mr Cameron’s achievement in legalising gay marriage and securing the release of British resident Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay and wished him and his family well — as well as asking him to thank his mother for her advice about suits and ties.
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