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1 Rescuing the economy

Cameron, who took office in 2010, is credited by some for rescuing the British economy from the depths of the 2008 global financial crisis. But critics say many of the jobs created were insecure and low paid, while government spending cuts hurt the most vulnerable.

2 Same-sex marriage

Cameron has called his gay-marriage bill, which came into effect in 2014, one of his greatest achievements. The act faced strong opposition from religious groups and party members before it was passed by Parliament in 2013.

3 Libya intervention

Britain joined the NATO-led coalition against then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. But Cameron and his allies did little to fill the vacuum created by Gaddafi’s removal. Libya has essentially been in a state of civil war ever since.

4 2014 Scotland referendum

Cameron led a cross-party coalition and a star-studded cast, which included J.K. Rowling and President Obama, to persuade Scotland to stay in the U.K. It worked: the Scotland referendum in 2014 was a win for the status quo when 55% voted to remain with the U.K.

5 E.U. referendum

His biggest failure was of his own making. In an attempt to heal internal party division over the E.U., Cameron pledged in 2013 to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the bloc through a referendum. He gambled that U.K. voters would opt to stay. He was wrong.

–Tara John

This appears in the July 25, 2016 issue of TIME.

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