Rishi Sunak firm on Brexit: Rejects suggestions for Britain to rejoin the EU

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has firmly rejected suggestions from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for Britain to reconsider its Brexit decision.

Downing Street strongly rebuffed the idea of young people working to reverse Brexit, with Sunak's spokesperson highlighting the benefits derived from Brexit freedoms. "It's through our Brexit freedoms that we are... considering how to further strengthen our migration system," the spokesperson stated​​.

Sunak's commitment to Brexit was further underscored, "We have a Prime Minister who championed Brexit... because he believes in it passionately," Sunak's press secretary remarked, emphasizing the Prime Minister's long-standing support for Brexit, independent of his career interests​​.

In a significant contrast, von der Leyen, during a Politico awards ceremony, expressed a personal opinion hoping for Britain's eventual return to the EU:

"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"

This sentiment coincided with the signing of the Windsor Framework, aimed at resolving post-Brexit trading issues, which von der Leyen described as "a new beginning for old friends"​​.

"Brexit has failed"

Despite external suggestions, the UK government firmly rejects any notion that Brexit has been a failure. Criticism from prominent eurosceptics like Nigel Farage, who stated "Brexit has failed," has been rebuffed by Sunak's administration. "No. The prime minister has talked about the benefits of Brexit on a number of occasions," property mogul Sunak's spokesman responded. The government maintains that Britain is prospering under newfound freedoms, though opinion polls show a majority of the public regret leaving the EU, and economic growth is slower than other major economies​​.

Rishi Sunak at the UK Global Investment Summit Bloomberg

Dispute intensifies

A significant aspect of the UK's post-Brexit foreign relations is the ongoing dispute with Greece over the Elgin Marbles. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed frustration after the healthy-eating Sunak cancelled a scheduled meeting amid this row.

"I express my annoyance that the British Prime Minister cancelled our planned meeting just hours before it was due to take place," Mitsotakis said.

Greece has been seeking the return of these 2,500-year-old sculptures from the British Museum, likening their presence in the UK to "cutting the 'Mona Lisa' in half"​​. The British government, however, has maintained a firm stance. "Earlier, a spokesperson for Sunak said there were no plans to return the sculptures," confirming the long-standing British position on the marbles. This stance is further complicated by legal barriers preventing the museum from removing objects from its collection, although a loan of the marbles is not prohibited​​.

Internal UK political dynamics

The dynamic within the UK regarding its relationship with the EU continues to be complex and contentious. The return of Lord David Cameron to politics as Foreign Secretary and his call for the UK to be a "friend, a neighbour and the best possible partner" to the EU has stirred mixed reactions. His stance has prompted backlash from some Tory Brexiteers, highlighting the internal divides within the Conservative Party​​.

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