David Cameron has said the victory of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in the French presidential elections, would be a “body blow” for the European project.
In one of his first interventions since resigning as Prime Minister, following his defeat at the European Union referendum in June, Mr Cameron also reiterated his belief that it would have been better for Britain to remain inside the 28 member state bloc.
Speaking in New Delhi, the former Prime Minister, who was in Downing Street between 2010 and 2016, added: “Our neighbours, our partners, our friends and our allies and I wanted us to stay in the room with them when they make decisions that affect us and our continent.”
But Mr Cameron said that “Brexit is not a dead end for Britain”. He added: “We were inside the EU but out of many of its elements… we are now out but in some of its elements.”
At the event in the Indian capital hosted by the Hindustan Times, Mr Cameron also said he was hoping for a victory of “a mainstream party that can unite people behind their candidacy” in April’s presidential elections in France.
Polls in France have consistently shown the Front National leader Ms Le Pen will make it to the final round but will struggle at that stage against Francois Fillon – the 62-year-old socially conservative former Prime Minister who last week won the primary to be the candidate for the right. Earlier this week, the unpopular French president Francois Hollande announced he would not seek a second term at Élysée Palace at the elections next year.
David Cameron's premiership - in pictures
David Cameron's premiership - in pictures
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greeting David Cameron at Buckingham Palace for an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister on 11 May 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha wave from the steps of Number 10 Downing Street on 11 May 2010
On 12 May 2010 Prime Minister David Cameron said in a press conference with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who was then deputy PM, they plan to "take Britain in a historic new direction" and Conservative-led coalition government would be united and provide "strong and stable" leadership
A decade ago, David Cameron visited the Arctic to witness the effects of climate change. However since coming to power in 2010, his government has gradually dropped down a succession of green policies
Prime Minister David cameron told the then New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Queen had “purred down the line” after he told her Scotland had voted against independence in September 2014. He was forced to apologise for breaking constitutional convention
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron greeted soldiers working on flood relief in York city centre after the river Ouse burst its banks, in northern England in December 2015
Claims that David Cameron performed an obscene act with a dead pig and smoked cannabis during his studies at Oxford University spread around the world in September 2015. The extraordinary allegations were made in an unauthorised biography of the Prime Minister written by Lord Ashcroft
David Hartley/REX Shutterstock
In 2016, Mr Cameron was caught up in a worldwide scandal dubbed the “Panama papers”
Prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha with seven week old Regan as they meet her parents, first time home buyers Robert Arron and Kelly Jeffers at the Heritage Brook housing development in Chorley, Lancashire. David Cameron has joked that he wants "another baby" and said that he feels a "bit broody" every time he sees a newborn on the campaign trail
Prime Minister David Cameron was criticised for branding refugees in the Calais ‘jungle’ camp as a “bunch of migrants” in January 2016 after thousands of refugees died in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean in 2015
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during an EU summit meeting on 17 March 2016 at the European Union council in Brussels. Cameron was in Brussels to renegotiate deal of UK membership with other European leaders. The deal, sealed after hours of haggling at a marathon summit, paved the way for a referendum on whether Britain will stay in the EU
President Barack Obama shakes hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron at a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London on 22 April 2016. The President and his wife visited 10 Downing Street where he joined press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron and made his case for the UK to remain inside the European Union
After David returned from Brussels claiming victory in his renegotiation with European leaders, Boris Johnson announced that he will not support the Remain campaign. The prime minister said publicly he was "disappointed but Boris remains a friend"
Prime Minister David Cameron makes a joint appearance with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan as they launch the Britain Stronger in Europe guarantee card at Roehampton University on 20 May 2016 in London. The 'guarantee card' lists five pledges should Britain remain in the EU, including the protection of workers' rights, full access to the single market and stability for Britain
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks outside 10 Downing Street on 24 June 2016. Cameron announced his resignation after Britain voted to leave the European Union after a bitterly divisive referendum campaign
He said the rise of “anti-system, populist” and “quite extreme political parties” across the continent did not mark the end of globalisation, but warned of the need to make a “major course-correction”.
News agency AFP reported the former PM added: “If France were to elect Marine Le Pen, that would be obviously a very big body blow for the European project.”
“But we do need to understand very profoundly the things that have happened, that have caused the events you have seen in Europe and the wider world in the last one year.”
According to the Hindustan Times, Mr Cameron was also asked what his plans were for the future. “Umm, well, I am writing a book on my time in politics…” he said.