George Osborne has said he made "mistakes" in the EU referendum campaign and failed to understand the anger felt by many Leave voters.
The former chancellor said many voters felt "completely disconnected" and didn't feel part of a "national economy that works for them".
"I think many used the EU referendum to express that anger," he said.
Mr Osborne, who was sacked as chancellor in July, had campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union.
He faced criticism for warning of a £30bn "black hole" if the UK voted to leave.
'Mistakes I've made'
He told the BBC's Sunday Politics North West that being a backbencher "is a complete change of life and tempo", adding he now has time to "think about mistakes I've made and how we can put them right."
"I've got to go on learning, not least why the country voted the way it did in the referendum that led to me leaving Downing Street."
"I don't think I properly understood the sense that people had in many communities, particularly in the north of England, that they were completely disconnected from the system, from the way our country was governed, they felt angry about things."
Defending his economic record, the former chancellor said that when he entered Downing Street in 2010 "the country was in an economic crisis".
He insisted: "All of my efforts and energy was on trying to fix the crisis", adding attention should to turn to helping "communities who feel left behind" due to job and pension insecurity.
Northern Powerhouse legacy
Mr Osborne explained he launched his Northern Powerhouse think tank last month to ensure the project doesn't lose "momentum".
Asked what he hoped his legacy would be, he said "The Northern Powerhouse is what I want to be remembered for, [as a] Member of Parliament who threw everything in to reversing that north-south gap".
Mr Osborne also pledged to remain an MP in Cheshire, despite the proposed abolition of his constituency.
The seat will disappear under boundary proposals which will reduce the number of MPs in the county by one.
Mr Osborne may face a contest with neighbouring Conservative MPs to stand in a Cheshire constituency if proposed boundary changes are approved.
He said he was "pretty confident" that he will be representing the county after the next general election, insisting "my heart is here".