Former Tory prime minister Sir John Major has heaped praise on David Cameron for rescuing the economy and championing marriage equality.

Describing the Prime Minister’s decision to stay in Downing Street for another three months as “statesmanlike”, Sir John insisted history would judge him well.

“I think it’s very sad that David has decided he has to go. I think he made the right decision. I think he had no choice,” Sir John told the BBC.

“I think when people look back on his premiership they will see quite a few things.

“Upon the day he became Prime Minister our economy was on the precipice, our banks were very close to collapse, and the forecast was dire.

“We now have one of the strongest economies, our banks are much better prepared now than ever before to face any of the difficulties that will lie ahead, and I think that is very much to David Cameron’s credit,” the ex-PM said.

Sir John singled out Mr Cameron’s push to bring in marriage equality for gays and lesbians as a major change for the country.

He added: “And I think his social agenda too has been very progressive. Many people didn’t like it, but there were many others who felt life was very harsh about their personal preferences, who will look back and say he brought a breath of fresh air and freedom to our lives that we hadn’t had before.

“I think that is a very remarkable record, and I think he’ll be remembered for it.”