French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has raised the prospect of persuading the UK to reverse its decision to leave the European Union (EU) if he is elected President for a second time.

Sarkozy claims he would reform the EU with German counterpart Angela Merkel, thus making it possible for the UK to organise another vote on whether to remain.

The decision to vote Brexit in June 2016 caused huge shocks round the world, but the UK will remain a member until Article 50 is triggered by Theresa May, who became Prime Minister following David Cameron's resignation in the aftermath of the historic result. The PM has already ruled out triggering Article 50 in 2016 and has yet to confirm when it will take place.

Now, Sarkozy - who was France's president between 2007 and 2012 before losing to François Hollande - says if elected a second time in May 2017 he will immediately set to work to bring the UK back into the European fold.

Sarkozy said that he would fly to Germany to meet with Angela Merkel the day after his election, before flying straight on to London to say a new treaty had been agreed.

"I would tell the British, you've gone out, but we have a new treaty on the table so you have an opportunity to vote again," Sarkozy is reported to have told the Financial Times in an interview.

"But this time not on the old Europe, on the new Europe. Do you want to stay? If yes, so much the better. Because I can't accept to lose Europe's second-largest economy while we are negotiating with Turkey over its EU membership. And if it's no, then it's a real no. You're in or you're out."

Sarkozy said the Schengen agreement would need to be reformed, potentially making it more difficult for migrants to reach the UK - mostly via Calais, where he has pledged to remove the so-called "Jungle." Privileges for European Commission would be restricted, he added, but the euro zone would be integrated further - a promise Euro-sceptics would not welcome.

However Sarkozy was less positive about Turkey's chance of joining the EU - a concern capitalised on by the Leave campaign, and particularly by Ukip. "Maybe it's time to tell Turkey that its place is in Asia," he said bluntly - a comment that might not go down particularly well with Turkey's President Erdogan.

Cameron's inability to make headway on EU reforms in February didn't go down well within his party, many of whom voted Brexit. If Sarkozy was able to persuade his EU fellow states to make further concessions, he would then arrive to meet Remain voter Theresa May with a potentially persuasive case.

However, first he has to persuade the electorate of France that he would make a good president second time around. So far he's the favourite to win at odds of 5/2.