A secret plan aimed at securing a last-ditch Brexit deal has been drawn up by ministers in case the EU formally rejects the Chequers agreement, it has been reported.
According to the Telegraph, the document is based on existing free trade deals struck by Brussels with countries around the world, while further reports indicate that the Army is on standby in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The legal text was originally commissioned by former Brexit secretary David Davis and would be presented to the EU as a way of avoiding a no deal Brexit.
Davis quit the Cabinet in protest at Theresa May's Brexit vision, which would see the UK maintain close economic ties with the EU in the future.
In a major blow to the prime minister, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier this week rejected the central plank of her plan, which would see Britain collect tariffs on behalf of Brussels.
Davis told the Telegraph: "When we get to October if we have got no resolution we have got a real-time problem. If there exists an off-the-shelf and fully written-up treaty - a complete legal text – we can then go round to the European states and say this is much better than no deal.
"I called it the reserve parachute. It's ready to go. It would be attractive to European countries wanting to avoid no deal and losing the £39bn Brexit divorce bill."
The army are also on standby to help distribute out medicines, food and fuel to vulnerable communities if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, it has emerged.
Ministers confirmed this week that the government was planning to stockpile drugs and food in a bid to ensure the UK is braced for the impacts of a 'no deal' Brexit.
Theresa May has described those preparations as "sensible" and said people should take “comfort” from the contingency planning going on across Whitehall.
According to the Sunday Times, that includes a plan to draft in the armed forces to assist civilian authorities, with helicopters and army trucks used to transport medicines to people in hard-to-reach locations outside the Southeast of England.
The military would also be called on in the event of disruption at Britain's ports, it is claimed.
While a Ministry of Defence source told the paper "no formal request" had been received, it is understood that existing plans used in civil emergencies would be put into action.
A minister told the paper: "There is a lot of civil contingency planning around the prospect of no deal. That’s not frightening the horses, that’s just being utterly realistic."
Retailer Amazon is said to have warned ministers earlier this month that its own plans for a 'no deal' Brexit included preparation for "civil unrest" within two weeks of the UK and EU failing to strike a deal.
Meanwhile, the government has reportedly shelved plans agreed at last month's Chequers summit to publish a report on 'no deal' planning every week during the summer recess.
The documents would have spelt out how different sectors of the economy could best prepare for an exit without a deal.
But the proposal was reportedly killed off by a senior official in the Brexit department this week, amid fears that it could spook voters.
A source told the paper: “People will sh*t themselves and think they want a new referendum or an election or think the Tory party shouldn’t govern again.
"MPs are saying: ‘If this is done badly, it could hurt us like sleaze did in the 1990s'."