LONDON: David Cameron has said that his successor must "restore the trust" of the British people in politics in the wake of the bitter in-fighting of the referendum campaign.
The Prime Minister was yesterday (Monday) met with cheers from Conservative MPs on both sides of the debate as he entered the Commons for the first time since announcing his decision to resign in the wake of his EU referendum defeat. He won warm praise from his Conservative rivals in the referendum campaign, Jeremy Corbyn, the embattled Labour leader, and Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat MP and former deputy prime minister.
Setting out his role for the next nine weeks, the Prime Minister insisted that Britain will not be rushed into negotiations to withdraw from the EU.
He said Britain should remain a member of the EU's Single Market while he seeks to lay the ground for his successor's negotiations.
He said: "We should hold fast to a vision of Britain that wants to be respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world and working with our international partners to advance the prosperity and security of our nation for generations to come. I have fought for these things every day of my political life. I will continue to do so."
Mr Corbyn urged the Government to keep key Labour figures informed about the Brexit negotiations as he was jeered by members of his own party.
In extraordinary scenes, Mr Corbyn faced shouts of "resign, resign" as he turned on his own back-benchers for plotting against him. "The country will thank neither the benches in front of me, nor those behind, for indulging in internal faction manoeuvring at this time," he said.
Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, warned that the campaign to leave the European Union had corroded trust in British politics by making "false and unfulfillable promises that had undermined Parliament".
Mr Cameron replied: "One of the concerns that came through in this referendum is that people are very disaffected with politics and politicians, but also expert opinion as well.
"I think this house and the Government can come into their own by setting out in a very cool and neutral way what these alternatives and what the costs and benefits are and then perhaps we can secure some of the trust."
He insisted that Britain will decide on when to invoke Article 50 and begin the process of formally leaving the European Union. Senior European figures have called for an immediate start to talks. He added: "Before we do that we need to determine the kind of relationship we want with the EU and that is rightly something for the next prime minister and their cabinet to decide. This is our sovereign decision and it will be for Britain and Britain alone to take."
The Prime Minister admitted that the deal he secured with Brussels before the EU referendum had not been enough to allay people's concerns about immigration. He said: "Immigration was a key issue in this election. I was hoping the welfare restrictions I had negotiated would help to address that because people feel a very clear sense in this country that you shouldn't have something for nothing. People should pay in before they take out.
"But clearly that wasn't enough to reassure people. Also I think there has been a lot of immigration from outside the EU for many, many years. People want to see the system brought under better control and management."
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, called for an investigation into the absence of Boris Johnson from the chamber as he paid tribute to Mr Cameron's "commitment to historic bipartisanship" in the Coalition.
In response Mr Cameron joked that his decision to stand alongside Mr Farron and Gordon Brown, the former Labour leader, on the eve of the EU referendum, had formed a "unique but obviously unpersuasive trilogy".
Mr Clegg praised Mr Cameron's "civility, good humour [and] ability to see politics from other people's points of view".
The Daily Telegraph