The Prime Minister, in an interview with a Sunday newspaper, said he would have been “heartbroken” by the break-up of the UK and first considered his position when a poll put the Yes campaign ahead just days before the referendum.
In the event, voters rejected independence by 55 per cent to 45 per cent and it was First Minister Alex Salmond who resigned, announcing hours after the result was declared that he would be stepping down in November.
Mr Cameron said: “I thought about resigning because I care so passionately about this issue. If the vote had been for Scotland to have left the UK, I genuinely would have been heartbroken. I would have felt winded and wounded. Emotionally, one would have thought, ‘I’m so saddened by this. I find it difficult to go on’.
“Of course, I contemplated having to go. I thought, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’. In many ways the easiest thing would be to say, ‘I feel wounded by this’ and walk away. I’m sure it would have been absolutely awful.
“In the end I came to the conclusion that would not have been the right thing to do.”
Since the referendum he has faced calls to honour pledges for more devolution to Scotland and consider allowing only English MPs to vote on English legislation.
Mr Cameron also vowed “never again” to discuss his conversations with the Queen after being challenged yesterday on whether he was ashamed to have been overheard saying she had “purred” when told the result of the Scottish independence referendum.
The Prime Minister told BBC One’s Andrew Marr programme he regretted the exchange between himself and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, which was overheard by TV cameras at the United Nations this week.
As the Prime Minister and Mr Bloomberg arrived for a press photo-opportunity, Mr Cameron smiled broadly as he recalled how he was able to tell the Queen it was “all right” after the referendum result.
“The definition of relief, if you are Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is ringing up Her Majesty the Queen and saying ‘Your Majesty, it is all right, it’s okay’,” Mr Cameron said.
“That was something. She purred down the line.”
Mr Cameron said yesterday: “[It is] one of those moments when you look back and kick yourself very hard. It was not a conversation I should have had, I am extremely sorry and very embarrassed about it. I have made my apologies and I think I’ll probably be making some more.”
Downing Street has already contacted Buckingham Palace to offer the Prime Minister’s apologies and it is understood that Mr Cameron will say sorry in person when he next meets Her Majesty for one of his regular audiences.