The United Kingdom could join a newly-reformed European Union in 10 or 20 years' time, Theresa May's de facto deputy has suggested.
David Lidington, who currently serves as Cabinet Minister, suggested that it was impossible to predict how European politics may evolve in that period and thinks rejoining the union would be "something for future parliaments to consider".
Lidington, who replaced May's former political confidante Damian Green in a recent reshuffle, was speaking in a interview with the Daily Telegraph.
The former Remain campaigner said: "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 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."
Lidington was formerly Minister for Europe and has served as an MP since 1992.