Hours after Boris Johnson was knifed out of the Conservative Party’s leadership race post- Brexit, former British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a revenge message saying "you should have stuck with me, mate", a new book has claimed.
They are Eton rivals who had caused a mess when they backed different sides over Brexit with Cameron leading the Remain campaign while Johnson backing the Leave side.
The ex-Prime Minister exercised his thumbs hours after the current Foreign Secretary was knifed out of the Conservative Party’s leadership race by Michael Gove, according to Tim Shipman’s book All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, serialised in The Sunday Times.
On the day of the development, Cameron was described by a member of the cabinet as "the happiest I have seen him in a long time", the book claims.
Gove managed Johnson’s campaign to be Cameron’s successor, before changing his mind the night before the nominations were announced and running himself, forcing Johnson to withdraw from the contest.
Cameron, who campaigned to remain in the EU and resigned over the referendum result, texted Johnson and said "you should have stuck with me, mate," following the debacle, author Tim Shipman says in his book.
In the book, telling "the disastrous inside story of how Boris did not become prime minister", Shipman reported that, following the Brexit referendum in June, Gove initially agreed to back his colleague for the top job, despite the fact he was under "intense pressure from close allies" to run for the leadership himself.
But the relationship between the two politicians disintegrated over a series of mistakes and misunderstandings.
Gove "went ballistic" over a mistake by Johnson, a source told Shipman, and decided it was "too big a risk for the country" to allow someone as "incompetent" as Johnson to become prime minister.
Over the course of the night, Gove ?- who Shipman said may also have been moved by speeches about how good a leader Cameron was -- decided he would put in his own leadership bid.
When he first heard, Johnson reportedly did not believe Gove had decided to run, but when he realised the news was true he decided he could no longer stand in the contest.
The book claims one person who was with Johnson when the nominations were announced said, "I’ve never seen him so winded. He looked utterly crushed. It was not the realisation it might all be over; it was just the betrayal".