David Cameron 'one of the worst prime ministers in modern history'


As the price of Marmite, popcorn and ice cream soar in the wake of Brexit, David Cameron has been rated one of the worst prime ministers in modern history by 82 political experts.

The timing of the survey could not have been worse for the ex PM as he came third from bottom in the table of post-war leaders - but would have been classed as the biggest failure based on rankings for only his second term.

Cameron fared worse than Labour's Gordon Brown, the premier he regularly mocked while opposition leader, in the survey of academics who specialise in politics and contemporary British history.

Nearly nine out of 10 said the European Union referendum was his greatest failure, with one claiming it was the greatest defeat of any prime minister "since Lord North lost America".

Only Sir Anthony Eden, whose reputation was left in tatters by his handling of the Suez crisis, and Sir Alec Douglas-Home - who only lasted a year, were ranked lower than Cameron in the list of 13 prime ministers who have served since 1945.

(PA/PA Archive)

University of Leeds professor Kevin Theakston, who carried out the research, said: "For all his achievements as a successful coalition prime minister, David Cameron's reputation and place in history seems destined to be defined by Brexit and his calling and losing the referendum.

"Academic opinion, as reflected in our survey, is currently pretty damning. But reputations can wax and wane as subsequent events, the passage of time and new evidence change perspectives.

"Depending on how Brexit works out, future historians and political scientists may come to a different verdict on Cameron's premiership."

Labour's Clement Attlee was again assessed as the most successful prime minister, scoring 8.5. He was followed by Margaret Thatcher on 7.2 and Tony Blair on 6.7.


Winston Churchill received only a 5.4 because the assessment is based on his 1950s government rather than his wartime leadership.

Brown was rated 4.6 while Sir Alec Douglas-Home scored 3.8 and Sir Anthony came bottom on 2.4.

Cameron scored 4, but when asked to rate his stints at No 10 separately he received 5.6 for the coalition years but just 2.1 for his time in No 10 since his 2015 election victory.

Academics were also asked to rate the impact each of the last five prime ministers had on society, the economy, foreign policy and Britain's role in the world, their political party, and democracy.

(Abir Sultan/AP)

Cameron was the only one to receive a negative rating in each area.