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May Ramps up Preparation for ‘No Deal’ Brexit Amidst Calls for Her Resignation

Prime Minister Theresa May is set to ‘unlock’ billions of pounds in preparation for a ‘no deal’ with the European Union (EU) in a bid to save her premiership and convince Brexiteers she is able to wrestle the upper hand in negotiations from eurocrats in Brussels.

Following confirmation last week from International Trade Secretary Liam Fox that the government is preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario in the event that the EU continues to play “hardball” during Brexit talks, a Treasury source told The Telegraph on Sunday that “Billions of pounds will be unlocked in the new year if progress has not been made. We have to plan for a No Deal.”

The billions will be spent on new technology to speed up customs checks at borders in the event of the UK reverting to WTO rules, amongst other measures.

The announcement comes following a “disastrous” keynote speech by the prime minister at Conservative Party conference on October 4th, which saw Mrs. May lose her voice and a serious lapse in security when a man, purportedly a comedian, approached the podium and handed her a P45, ‘from Boris Johnson’.

Two days later, there were calls for her resignation from donor Charlie Mullins and the former party chairman Grant Shapps. Shapps, who stepped down following the Tatler Tory bullying scandal, claims to be heading a group of 30 Tory MPs preparing to sign a letter calling on the prime minister to resign.

A recent poll found one third of Tory party members believe May secretly wants to stay in the EU, and a colleague of Shapps told The Telegraph that Brexiteers’ patience with the PM, who backed Remain during the referendum campaign, is wearing thin saying: “The €20 billion she has offered [in budget contributions to the EU] is going to end up at €45 billion – how much of this can the Brexiteers take?”

May’s position on Brexit negotiations had not recovered following the substantially concessionary keynote Brexit speech in Florence, Italy, in September where she agreed to tie the UK to the bloc until 2021 through a transition deal and left the door open to an unspecified ‘divorce bill’ – which has grown in speculation from €20 billion, to €30 billion, to €40 billion in a matter of weeks.

The speech, branded a “betrayal” by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, was not met with an equal extension of concessions by the EU, with German leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron, and the bloc’s Brexit negotiators Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt immediately demanding “clarity” on the Irish border, divorce bill, and EU citizens’ rights.

Hosting on LBC radio on Sunday, Farage speculated that May “won’t last beyond Christmas”, calling her “badly damaged goods”.

“As someone who works in Brussels, I know her credibility is shot with them,” Mr. Farage said. “She’s badly damaged goods, it’s last chance saloon but there’s always a chance for people to redeem themselves.”

A former Conservative Party minister told The Telegraph there could be a renewed attempt to unseat Mrs. May next week if a meeting of the EU council went badly.

He said: “The EU is going to play hardball and that is going to prompt further questions about what the Prime Minister is going to do about it. We have not got the luxury of time any more.”

Brexiteer and key Tory backbencher Owen Paterson launched a ‘Christmas ultimatum’ on relations with the EU, telling the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.: “If the EU does not show serious intent to negotiate free trade arrangements… by Christmas, we should give clear notice on January 1st that we’re leaving and we’re going to work on WTO terms.”

Mrs. May is rumoured to be considering demoting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, tipped to replace her in the event of her ousting, this month.

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