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David Cameron's resignation as an MP marks the end of a star political career

Cameron had vowed not to spend his premiership Credit: PA

David Cameron’s resignation as an MP marks the end of a political career which saw him rise to lead the country before an equally dramatic downfall after failing to persuade the public to vote to remain in the EU.

He vowed not to spend his premiership "banging on about Europe", but Mr Cameron ultimately allowed himself to be dragged into a long-held party friction over the EU before disastrously misjudging the mood of the public on the issue.

Unlike his Eton schoolmate Boris Johnson, Mr Cameron was not initially pegged as a future political heavyweight.

After graduating from Oxford, he worked as a special advisor to Norman Lamont and Michael Howard before departing to work in communications for the now-defunct Carlton TV.

He made a return to politics when he was elected MP for the Oxfordshire seat of Witney in the 2001 general election, and was soon pegged as a rising star.

Cameron and his family leave No 10 earlier this year Credit: PA

Mr Cameron was elected leader of the party in 2005, beating rival David Davis to the post, and quickly sought to reposition the Conservatives as more centrist party to challenge the ‘New Labour’ movement led by Tony Blair.

Under his leadership, the Conservatives ended a 13-year run of Labour government in the 2010 election – though they failed to get a majority and were forced to enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Among his key achievements as prime minister was the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013 and helping to persuade Scotland not to split from the UK in their referendum.

While the coalition struggled with in-fighting between the two parties, the Conservatives also faced growing pressure from Nigel Farage’s far-right Ukip which pledged to take the UK out of the EU.

Faced with the prospect of leaching votes to Ukip, Mr Cameron made the fateful decision to pledge to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the bloc if the Conservatives were returned to government in 2015.

David Cameron on the campaign trial for the EU 'remain' campaign Credit: PA

The issue is one that had dogged the right wing for years, with repeated Conservative leaders facing calls from the backbenches to take back control from Brussels.

It left Cameron facing attacks from within his own party over the issue whilst also trying to convince the public to vote to remain in the face of a Eurosceptic mood.

Once it became clear that Britons had rejected his advice and voted to leave the EU, he decided to step down as prime minister.

In a speech announcing his resignation he seemed close to tears as he said he was “honoured” to have served his country, adding: “I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed."

Since stepping down as party leader, Mr Cameron has kept a relatively low profile.

It is not clear what future career awaits him after leaving British politics.

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