Mr Cameron called the referendum in accordance with a pledge contained in the Conservative Party manifesto for the 2015 General Election, in which the Tories won 330 seats and a Parliamentary majority of 12 seats. But Professor Tony Travers, director of LSE London, said almost three years on from the 2016 vote, in which Britain voted to leave the EU by 52 percent to 48 percent, there was still widespread resentment towards Mr Cameron, especially given the rapidity with which he resigned afterwards. Professor Travers told Express.co.uk: “He clearly decided to hold a referendum like Harold Wilson did in 1975 in order to sort out his party and find a way to determine Britain’s future in relation to Europe.
“He thought he was using the power of the electorate to do that – Europe had damaged Margaret Thatcher, John Major and other Conservative leaders – but clearly the result turned out to be the exact opposite of what he intended.
“Not only did it put an end to his political career but there are very few Conservatives in the country now who are not heavily critical of his decision to call the referendum with a total lack of planning for what would happen if Britain voted Leave.”
In late July 2016, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee was told Mr Cameron had refused to allow the Civil Service to draw up plans for Brexit, a decision described by the committee “an act of gross negligence”.
Professor Travers added: “It’s true that there was a lack of planning and I think a lot of the criticism is therefore justified.
“There was simply no preparation in terms of how it would turn out if Britain did vote Leave.”
Professor Travers said the result had a profound impact on the way Britons have viewed politicians ever since.
He explained: “Trust in politicians has never been so low.
“Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn suffered from low approval ratings afterwards.
“I think it has reminded people how Great Britain is a very centralised country and how the Prime Minister here is far more powerful that in other countries.
“But it has also showed people how hard it can be to wield that power so in that respect it has not done a lot of good for the office of Prime Minister.”
Speaking last month, Mr Cameron insisted he had “no regrets” about calling the vote.
But Professor Travers said the result had clearly come as a big shock to the 52-year-old, who campaigned for Remain and who had been confident of victory in the days leading up to the vote.
He said: “David Cameron looked like a lucky politician on the day of the referendum, as if he would confound the saying: ‘All political careers end in failure’.
“Calling the vote without thinking about the possible consequences was a misjudgement which has caused difficulties ever since.
“People are very critical of him for walking away on day one as well.
“One might have argued staying on to see the country through the early part of the process would have been more helpful.
“As it was there was an unseemly leadership contest at the end of which Theresa May has ended up picking up the pieces.”