Thursday 23 November 2017

Cameron pays moving tribute to 'the love of my life'

David Cameron and wife Samantha, daughters Nancy (left) and Florence and son Elwen wave goodbye to 10 Downing Street Photo: Reuters
David Cameron and wife Samantha, daughters Nancy (left) and Florence and son Elwen wave goodbye to 10 Downing Street Photo: Reuters

Gordon Rayner

There were no tears, but as the Cameron family hugged each other on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, there was the briefest glimpse of sorrow.

It had been, said the outgoing British prime minister, "a lovely home over these last six years", but its door had closed behind them for the last time, less than three weeks after the referendum vote that sealed their fate.

There was also, unquestionably, a measure of relief. Hinting at the toll the job had taken, David Cameron admitted that sometimes his children "kicked the red boxes full of work" and that Florence, his youngest daughter, "once climbed into one before a foreign trip and said 'Take me with you'".

With a glance at his family, he added: "Well, no more boxes."

He thanked Samantha Cameron, "the love of my life", for having "kept me vaguely sane" and for being "an amazing wife, mother and businesswoman".

Then, for the first and last time, the Camerons and their children Nancy (12), Elwen (10) and Florence (5) posed for photographers at the door of No 10.

Earlier, Mr Cameron had won a standing ovation from Conservative MPs as he ended his last session of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons by telling them: "I was the future once."

Mr Cameron's final quip neatly brought to an end a series that started 11 years ago when he took to the despatch box to face Tony Blair for the first time with the infamous taunt that he today turned on himself.

But unlike the departure of Mr Blair, when Mr Cameron waved opposition MPs to their feet to applaud the outgoing Labour PM, Jeremy Corbyn and the majority of his team remained firmly seated on the green benches.


The bulk of the half-hour session was devoted to tributes to Mr Cameron and jokes about the possibility of him filling current vacancies for England football manager, 'Top Gear' host or a judge on 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

MPs heard how an American who had seen the weekly knockabout session on television once told the outgoing premier how he loved his "show".

As the star of the show, Mr Cameron had an armoury of zingers to fire in his final showdown. When it comes to women prime ministers it is 2-0, Mr Cameron shot at the Opposition leader "and not a pink bus in sight" - a jibe at Labour's attempt to appeal to women voters by giving a minibus a makeover.

With a party behind him that managed to resolve its change of leadership within a matter of weeks, he said of Labour's beleaguered leader: "We've had resignation, nomination, competition and coronation.

"They (Labour) haven't even decided what the rules are yet. If they ever got into power, it'd take them about a year to work out who would sit where."

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