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David Cameron Says "Heat And Anger" Between UK And EU Has Gone Since Brexit

David Cameron (Alamy)

3 min read

Foreign Secretary David Cameron has said the "heat and anger" in the UK's relationship with the EU has disappeared since Brexit.

Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton appeared before the Lords European Affairs Committee on Thursday for the first time since his dramatic return to Government last month. Because Cameron cannot face questions in the House of Commons, the committee presents an important opportunity for scrutiny of the former prime minister. 

Cameron told the committee the relationship between the UK and EU was "functioning well" since Britain left the bloc almost four years ago. 

"We've decided not to be a member, but we can be friends, neighbours and partners, and we make that partnership work as well as we can," he added. 

"I think it's been interesting coming back to see how it's working [the relationship] and how problems are being fixed and opportunities being taken.

"I think a lot of the heat and anger has come out of the relationship. I think it's functioning well." 

He said he believed the Windsor Framework, an agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier this year in order to account for Northern Ireland's unique position of being in the UK, but bordering Europe, was a "superb piece" of legislation. Cameron added that he knew from "personal experience" how difficult it was to negotiate when every detail is in public. 

He said he purposely did not speak to European leaders when he stepped down as an prime minister and subsequently as an MP, as he did not want to interfere with Brexit negotiations. Cameron, who had campaigned to remain in the EU, resigned from office in 2016 after the country voted to leave by 52 per cent. 

"I stayed out of it because there's always a problem people might think you are a back channel. I stopped relationships," he added. 

Cameron said it was important for the UK to take "advantage" of the country's position which was outside the Single Market and Customs Union. 

"We're making this partnership work and as part of that arrangement, we're free to make these trade arrangements with the rest of the world," he added. 

"And I'm delighted that we're doing CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), we will be one of the largest players in this new emerging. We can help shape it and develop and grow it."

Cameron was also questioned about the UK's relationship with China, and Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. He said he saw the UK and China as "natural partners".

"We've got a very important relationship with China, and huge historical knowledge and everything else," he said.

"So I think it's the question of what works and I think this is working."

The Foreign Secretary was asked whether it was in the UK's interests for Ukraine to join the EU and whether he was in favour of the country joining NATO.

"In terms of Europe, it's a matter for the EU. It's a matter for them to decide," Cameron said. 

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