Downing Street denied that Brexit is in peril despite European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen suggesting the next generation could put the UK on a path to rejoining the EU.
Speaking at an event in Brussels, Ms von der Leyen said “the direction of travel” was clear and suggested the younger generation could “fix” the mistake of Brexit.
Asked if Mr Sunak agreed, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “No. It’s through our Brexit freedoms that we are, right now, considering how to further strengthen our migration system.
“It is through our Brexit freedoms we are ensuring patients in the UK can get access to medicines faster, that there is improved animal welfare. That is very much what we are focused on.”
Asked if Brexit was in peril, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “No.”
Brexit in peril
The return of former prime minister Lord Cameron as Foreign Secretary and his call for the UK to be a “friend, a neighbour and the best possible partner” for the EU has caused unease among some Brexiteers.
But Rishi Sunak’s press secretary stressed the Prime Minister’s Brexiteer credentials.
“We have a Prime Minister that championed Brexit before it was in his career interest to do so because he believes in it passionately,” she told reporters in Westminster.
“We are very focused on making a success of it.”
Von der Leyen interview
Ms von der Leyen’s comments came in an interview at a Politico awards ceremony on Tuesday night in the Belgian capital.
Asked whether Britain could ever rejoin the EU, Ms von der Leyen said: “I must say, I keep telling my children: ‘You have to fix it. We goofed it up, you have to fix it’.
“So I think here too, the direction of travel — my personal opinion — is clear.”
She also described the Windsor Framework, signed by her and Mr Sunak to address Northern Ireland’s Brexit difficulties, as “a new beginning for old friends”.
Lord Cameron met European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who leads on Brexit matters for the bloc, in Brussels on Wednesday.
Related: The Politics Pub Quiz: Week 2