LONDON — As Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal went down to a humiliating defeat on Tuesday, many in Britain wondered what was happening with the man who started Brexit in the first place: former prime minister David Cameron.
It turned out that while May was trying to navigate the choppy waters of Parliament, Cameron had grabbed a surfboard.
The former prime minister, who called the 2016 Brexit referendum and then resigned after voters chose to leave the European Union, has tried to keep a low profile as Brexit chaos mounted. But British tabloids reported that Cameron took a surfing vacation to Costa Rica earlier this month. And as the parliamentary vote on Brexit drew near on Tuesday, many Brits on social media wondered where he was.
“Somewhere in a yoga retreat in the Maldives our former prime minister David Cameron is sitting, closed eyes, in lotus pose and repeating the mantra ‘the referendum was absolutely the right thing to do’ until he almost believes it,” tweeted author Matt Haig on Tuesday.
“Wonder if David Cameron’s just going to chill in his cabin today, write few more pages of his memoirs? Pop to the shops? I’m sure he’s having a nice time. It’s good to be Dave," read another tweet from a Twitter employee in London.
According to a recent YouGov poll, 58 percent of Britain holds a negative view of the former prime minister. Cameron is frequently accused of abandoning the country at a time of political upheaval and leaving May to deal with the consequences of his decision to hold a referendum. Earlier this month, he was even barred from entering Parliament after failing to renew his pass that grants access to Westminster. (Some wags suggested that might be a good thing.)
And while Cameron is often ridiculed through memes and tweets from frustrated Brits, he is also unpopular with lawmakers, who hold him accountable for the current state of affairs in Britain. “David Cameron’s arrogance plunged our country into its greatest political crisis in a generation. He doesn’t even regret it. Why doesn’t he say sorry I screwed up and beg for forgiveness?” tweeted David Lammy, a member of Parliament from the Labour Party, on Wednesday.
The BBC finally tracked Cameron down on Wednesday, finding him literally on the run.
“Guess who we found this morning popping out for a run? - David Cameron who told
@bbc news ‘I don’t regret having the referendum, but I do regret the difficulties we’ve had implementing it,'" tweeted the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg.
Cameron said he hoped May would win Wednesday’s crucial vote of confidence and expressed his desire for unity in Parliament before jogging off into the distance.
With the Brexit deal creating a mess, others jokingly called for another prominent figure to help out: “tidying expert” Marie Kondo.