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Tory party was David Cameron's `only reason for dangerous, stupid EU referendum'

David Cameron walks with with European Council President Donald Tusk during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels. Picture by Yves Herman, Pool Photo via AP

FORMER British prime minister's "only reason was his own party" for a "dangerous, stupid" EU referendum, a new BBC documentary hears.

During an interview for `Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil', European Council president Donald Tusk said Mr Cameron admitted he only promised the 2016 vote because he expected to be in another coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who would veto it.

The series, which starts on Monday January 28, features interviews with political figures from all sides of Brexit, including former chancellor George Osborne, ex-foreign secretary William Hague, president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and former French presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

However, the producers said yesterday, Mr Cameron, who resigned in 2016 after leading the failed `Remain' campaign, declined to take part because he has signed an exclusive deal for his memoirs.

Instead former Polish prime minister Mr Tusk recounts a discussion with him before the referendum, when the then Tory leader was attempting to win concessions from other EU leaders on migrant benefits.

"I told him bluntly, come on David, get real. I know that all prime ministers are promising to help you, but believe me the truth is that no one has an appetite for revolution in Europe only because of your stupid referendum," Mr Tusk said.

"If you try to force us, to hurry us, you will lose everything. And for the first time I saw something close to fear in his eyes. He finally realized what a challenge he was facing."

The former Polish prime minister recalls asking: "Why did you decide on this referendum ... it's so dangerous, so even stupid, you know, and he told me - and I was really amazed and even shocked - that the only reason was his own party"

He said Cameron "felt really safe, because he thought ... that there's no risk of a referendum, because his coalition partner, the Liberals, would block this idea of a referendum.

"But then, surprisingly, he won [the election] and there was no coalition partner. So paradoxically, David Cameron became the real victim of his own victory."

The further two episodes will look at the Greek financial meltdown and the Syrian migrant crisis.

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