Britain could still cancel Brexit and stay in the European Union on the same terms it currently enjoys, the French government has said.

Nathalie Loiseau, the country’s European affairs minister, said on Thursday France and other member states still did not want Britain to leave the bloc.

The confirmation by the national minister comes amid the looming prospect of a no deal, with the two sides apparently deadlocked on the issue of an Irish border backstop.

Senior EU figures, such as Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Council president Donald Tusk, have both said Brexit is still reversible.

Whether the triggering of Article 50 – which began Britain’s legal move towards the exit door – can be cancelled is, however, the subject of legal dispute.

“We have always said, always, that the door would remain open and that we were not the ones who wanted to diverge from the United Kingdom,” Ms Loiseau told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It was the British people who decided to leave the European Union.”

Asked whether the UK could stay in on the same terms it had now, she replied: “Sure, of course. [Like] every single member state of the European Union, we have one conviction, which is that the best possible status is being a member, the most profitable status.”