In Brief

David Cameron calls for 'course correction' in Western politics

Politicians must put greater emphasis on helping those left behind, says former prime minister in US speech

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The rise of "populism" in the West must pressure politicians into a "course correction", David Cameron said in his first big speech since leaving Downing Street

Speaking to students in the US, the former prime minister, who gambled and lost his job over the EU referendum, said politicians had to change course following the vote for Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the political upheaval in Italy.

"Ultimately, how 2016 goes down in history will depend on what political leaders do next," Cameron told the audience at Indiana's DePauw University.

"That’s why I have tried to make a very clear argument, which is that if they put their heads in the sand and say, 'Well, this will pass and we'll just carry on the way we are,' then 2016 will be seen as a real watershed.

"But if, as I believe will happen, our democracies are flexible enough and our leaders are aware enough, they will correct - course correct, as I put it - the problems that they face. So you will see a greater emphasis on trying to help those who are left behind."

Cameron attributed his own demise to populism, but defended calling the EU referendum because the issue had "poisoned" UK politics for decades, reports The Guardian.

While he said he thought the EU would survive, he cast doubt on the long-term prospects for the euro, saying he saw "more trouble ahead" as countries grappled with poor economic performance and workers who felt left behind by globalisation voiced their anger. 

He also said there needed to be controls on immigration: "We may not need a wall, but we do need borders that work and are seen to work. We need that in Europe, just as in the United States," he said.

It has not been revealed how much Cameron was paid for the speech. The Sun said it was the start of a "global money-making spree" for the former PM, who will no longer be required to give detailed breakdowns of his finances as he is no longer an MP. 

Cameron's former chancellor, George Osborne, earned more than £500,000 from engagements in October and November alone.

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