DAVID Cameron has spelled out his beefs with the European Union, saying he did not like “its flag and its parliament”.
He insisted he did not regret calling last year’s in-out referendum on membership even though losing it cost him his premiership.
He also voiced no remorse for fighting “passionately” to keep Britain in the bloc, despite its many failings.
Mr Cameron had tried to win the public’s backing for staying in by negotiating new membership terms ahead of the vote.
These included a deal to exempt Britain from the EU’s aim of “ever closer union” and further political integration.
The agreement would also have saved the UK from participating in future euro-bailouts, let it limit some welfare benefits for migrants, and committed the EU to do more to cut red tape.
Mr Cameron – who had warned fellow leaders that the British people’s support for staying in the EU was “wafer thin” – then campaigned for Britain to remain, while insisting the UK would press for further reforms from inside the bloc.
But he lost the vote and resigned, amid accusations from fellow Remain campaigners he had always been too negative about the EU instead of making the positive case for membership that would win voters over.
In a speech in Ukraine on Wednesday as his successor Theresa May started the formal Brexit process by invoking Article 50 of the EU treaties, former MP Mr Cameron said: “I think it is worth understanding that Britain always was uncertain, in fact opposed to the idea of the deeper and more integrated political union.
“We looked at the European flag and we thought ‘well, we don’t really like the European flag, we’ve got our own flag’.
“We looked at the European Parliament and we didn’t really like the European Parliament. We’ve got our own parliament, which we are very proud of.
“I led the campaign to stay in – and I didn’t like the European flag and the European Parliament.
“We were always uncertain about that political union element.
“I was passionate about my side of the argument, I threw myself into the argument, I made every argument I could, I fought as hard as I could.”
Britain was always a “reluctant and uncertain” EU member: “We were in for reasons of utility rather than emotion.
“We were there for the trade, we were there for the cooperation and I thought it right to stay because I wanted more trade and more cooperation.
“But nonetheless the other side…won a vote and we need to go ahead with Brexit.”
He also defended the decision to hold a referendum, which the Conservatives’ 2015 general election manifesto had promised, after previous votes on EU matters were pledged but not held.
“I thought it right to hold the referendum because this issue had been poisoning British politics for years. The referendum had been promised and not held,” he said.
“I made a promise to hold a referendum, I think it was the right thing to do.”