LONDON — Former British Prime Minister David Cameron says he is "truly sorry" for the chaos and division caused by Brexit, but still defends holding the vote that triggered Britain's messy divorce from the European Union.
Cameron, who took office in 2010, campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the E.U. after calling the June 2016 referendum. He resigned the morning after the country voted to leave.
"I am truly sorry to have seen the country I love so much suffer uncertainty and division in the years since then," Cameron said in an interview published Saturday.
But Johnson, who has been accused of lying to the Queen in order to secure the suspension, has lost control of the process after suffering a series of defeats at the hands of rebel lawmakers.
He faces an Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the E.U. and has been instructed by Parliament to seek an extension, which he says he will not do despite concerns that leaving without a deal would cause severe economic problems and possible food and medicine shortages.
A spokesperson for Johnson declined to comment on Cameron's interview Saturday.
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Cameron, who is releasing a memoir on Sept. 19, told the British newspaper The Times that he finds it all "painful to watch."
"I worry desperately about what is going to happen next," he said.
Still, Cameron insists he doesn't regret holding the referendum.
He maintains that a vote on Britain leaving the bloc was inevitable, citing political pressures, Europe's economic woes at the time and a migrant crisis.
"There are, of course, all those people who wanted a referendum and wanted to leave who are glad that a promise was made and a promise was kept," he said, adding, "I do understand some people are very angry because they didn’t want to leave the E.U. Neither did I."
But he has largely kept a low profile in the three years since he stepped aside.
For 3 years I have kept relatively quiet about politics. But I think it’s right former PMs write their memoirs, to explain what they did and why. For the Record is out Thursday. Serialisation starts in today’s @thetimeshttps://t.co/rsFKeY4jSV