German commissioner slams Cameron over EU referendum campaign


David Cameron ran a "shit" referendum campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union, Germany's European commissioner has said.

Gunther Oettinger said of the Brexit vote "shit happens", as he gave his withering assessment of the former prime minister's efforts to keep the UK in the EU.

Mr Cameron resigned following the referendum amid criticism for pushing a "project fear" message of the economic risks of Brexit.

Mr Oettinger, the digital commissioner, told the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association on Tuesday: "We have to accept the democratic decision and the shit campaign of Cameron.

"I'm sorry, but we have to accept it, that's life and shit happens."

He also suggested that the UK could still play a part in the EU's digital strategy after leaving the union.

Arguments over the role of Mr Cameron's successor, Theresa May, in the lead-up to the referendum have already begun.

The Prime Minister's camp this week hit back at claims that she was branded "lily-livered" by Mr Cameron for scuppering plans for tough new immigration controls.

Her aides took the unusual step of releasing details of her private correspondence with Mr Cameron after a book by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman claimed she had blocked plans for an "emergency brake" on EU immigration.

Another account of the referendum by Mr Cameron's former communications director, Sir Craig Oliver, claimed the ex-PM had been let down by Mrs May over her reluctance to come out more strongly for Remain in the referendum.

The issue of how to deliver Brexit is set to dominate the Conservative Party conference, which begins on Sunday.

Tories are split over whether to seek a "hard Brexit" with Britain outside the European single market and retaining full control over immigration, or keeping some form of membership or access to the free trade zone.

European leaders have repeatedly stated that the UK cannot remain part of the single market without accepting the free movement of EU citizens.