Britain could be back in the European Union in a generation if it is reformed, a senior Cabinet minister has hinted.
David Lidington said he did not believe the result of the referendum would be reversed but suggested the EU would not look the same in 20 years’ time.
The bloc is likely to be configured differently and that “is something that future parliaments, future generations, will have to consider”, the Cabinet Office Minister said.
Mr Lidington, a former Europe minister who campaigned for Remain, told The Daily Telegraph: “I think that the EU itself is going to change, and I think it is almost inevitable that the dynamic of the single currency is going to drive at least some of the current members of the EU towards much closer economic and, to a degree, political integration in the future.”
“And I can’t see the UK wanting to go back into that sort of arrangement.”
“But we may be looking in a generation’s time at an EU that is also configured differently from what it is today, and the exact nature of the relationship between the UK and that future system – whatever it turns out to be – of European co-operation is something that future parliaments, future generations, will have to consider.”
“I don’t think the EU in 20 years’ time is going to look the same as the EU of today.”
Mr Lidington said there will be a need for a system of economic and political co-operation.
He added: “I think it’s a red herring to be saying ‘perhaps we’ll change our minds about going back into the EU in something that looks at all like the thing we’re leaving today. I don’t see that as happening.”
It comes after former Cabinet minister Justine Greening said a future generation of MPs will “improve or undo” Brexit.
“When they take their place here they will seek to improve or undo what we’ve done and make it work for them,” she told the Commons.