David Cameron memoir hits headlines as Guardian apologises for editorial

David Cameron memoir hits headlines as Guardian apologises for editorial

David Cameron’s memoir, For the Record, hit the headlines this weekend as the publicity campaign for the former prime minister’s book gets underway. 

Extracts from his autobiography, which will be published by William Collins on Thursday 19th September, ran in the papers on Sunday alongside an interview in the Times

Headlines from the weekend saw Cameron accuse Boris Johnson and Michael Gove of behaving “appallingly” during the Brexit referendum campaign. He criticised Johnson’s recent decision to prorogue Parliament. Cameron also said he understands some people will “never forgive him” for holding the referendum, admitted he has been “hugely depressed” by the outcome of the vote and revealed he “worries desperately” about what will happen next. In the book, Cameron defends his decision for holding the referendum. The former Tory leader also revealed he was often “off his head” after smoking cannabis during his time at Eton. 

Cameron also praised the NHS care his disabled son Ivan received before he died in 2009, aged six. In an editorial the Guardian questioned if he "might have understood the damage his policies have done" if he had sought care for a parent rather than a child. 

The editorial sparked outrage with Chancellor Sajid Javid branding the editorial a "shameful thing to read". The remarks were removed within hours of publication. A spokesman for the Guardian said: "The original version of an editorial posted online yesterday fell far short of our standards. It was changed significantly within two hours, and we apologise completely."

The furore comes as Cameron prepares for a series of radio and TV interviews this week to promote his book. A busy publicity campaign will see a prime time special for the first broadcast interview with journalist Tom Bradby for ITV New. This will be followed by "Today" on BBC Radio 4 with Cameron "featuring as presenter John Humphrys’ final big interview before the presenter retires". Further key interviews scheduled for the week of publication include "This Morning" on ITV, as well as discussions with Nick Ferrari on LBC and Chris Evans on Virgin Radio. The BBC will broadcast the first episode in a two-part documenatry "The Cameron Years" on Thursday. 

For the Record features Cameron's take on the Arab Spring; the rise of ISIS, the invasion of Ukraine, the conflicts in Libya, Iraq and Syria, the Olympic Games in 2012, the Scottish referendum and EU referendum. William Collins originally bought the autobiography in a deal reportedly worth £800,000, negotiated with the late literary agent Ed Victor in 2016. The book will draw on over 50 hours-worth of audio tapes recorded with Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein. Publication had been slated for 2018 but was pushed back.

Last week, The Bookseller reported how independent booksellers were deliberating over how to deal with the upcoming memoir, with some not stocking the book, and others only ordering a very small number ahead of publication day. Chains such as W H Smith, Waterstones and Blackwell’s are stocking the hardback, as well as signed editions for £25.