Former prime minister David Cameron has warned Boris Johnson that breaking the law “is not a good idea” as the Brexit deadline approaches.
Earlier this month, a law was passed requiring the government to formally request an extension on 19 October unless either a Brexit deal was reached with the European Union or parliament had voted in favour of a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Johnson has previously said he would rather “die in a ditch” than obey the law.
Mr Cameron told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme that he and Mr Johnson are “as one” on the importance of getting a Brexit deal.
He said: “No deal is not a good idea. Breaking the law is not a good idea. Focus everything you’ve got on getting that deal, and that’s what he’s doing, to be fair to him.”
Mr Cameron said he and Mr Johnson text each other “from time to time” but they had not met since the latter became prime minister.
“He knows my views on most things,” Mr Cameron added. “The most important thing he is trying to do, he has my support for, which is going to Brussels, getting a deal, bringing that deal back and trying to end this period of uncertainty and I wish him well as he does that.”
Mr Cameron also told the show that changes to stop and search are the “key” to bringing down knife crime, adding that giving police more powers to check if members of the public are carrying a weapon “needed to change” to tackle the rise of deaths.
He admitted that cutting 20,000 police officers since 2011 “clearly has an impact” on the number of offences involving knives rising 30% by 2011.
But Mr Cameron insisted he made “difficult decisions” and said he had been “driven mad” by claims his cuts were a “political choice”.
Knife crime offences hit a record high in 2018-19 – up by 8% on the previous year in England and Wales, according to figures released last month.
There were 43,516 police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the same period, which is the highest since comparable records began in 2011.
Mr Cameron did not give the figure when asked how many police had been cut since he became prime minister.
“What we demonstrated was actually you could reduce police budgets while continuing to cut crime and actually trying to increase the number of neighbourhood officers that were on the front line and that is what happened,” he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
“There was wastage and inefficiency in a lot of these public services and we had to do something about that.”
But pressed on how the impact of those cuts on today’s violent crimes, Mr Cameron admitted: “Knife crime has many causes, and there are many things that we need to do to tackle it.
“I absolutely think it was right of Sajid Javid when he was home secretary to look again at stop and search because actually the number of police officers clearly has an impact – but as big an impact is what they are doing.”
He continued: “As we reduced these budgets, we were able to make sure that there was more on the front line – that’s absolutely crucial.
“But if you’re asking me did we make difficult decisions, yes of course we did. But we had no choice.
“I’ve been quiet for the last three years but sometimes you’re driven mad to hear that somehow austerity was a ‘political choice’, that there were other alternatives.”
Mr Johnson has pledged to reverse the cuts and recruit 20,000 police officers.