Theresa May is preparing a reshuffle of her cabinet after next week’s Budget, with the Chancellor Philip Hammond facing the chop, I can reveal.

“There will be a new party chairman,” reports a Number 10 snout. “Next generation chairman at CCHQ to remodel the party and a new Chancellor because he’s finished once the Budget is out of the way,” says another.

This makes the Budget highly unusual. ‎Governments tend to go into these set-pieces with irrationally high hopes of pressing the reset button. Not this time. This one is already priced in as a damp squib or even worse.

Hammond is playing for his political career next week, but he must be wondering now if it wouldn’t be easier to go back to making money, which he is good at. In such torrid circumstances, even I am starting to sympathise with Hammond. He’s a decent man – a patriot committed to markets, pro-enterprise – stuck in a difficult situation.

But no-one forced him to become Chancellor. It’s a tough old world. For months now, his colleagues have been expressing despair. They just can’t work out what he’s all about. They find him totally impossible on Brexit – gloomy rather than practical, difficult to read.

‎The options if Hammond’s Budget does bomb and he is replaced in the aftermath?

1) Michael “economicky” Gove. It is bizarre that Gove is being criticed for speaking up in cabinet on the economy. Thank goodness someone is, in the circumstances. What the hell are the rest of them doing? They’re cabinet ministers. They should be speaking up robustly on economic matters with Brexit looming.

2) Sajid Javid.

3) Amber Rudd.

3) Greg Clark‎.

4) Jeremy Hunt.

5) ‎David Davis, if May wanted to reset the negotiations or take them over herself and reorganise DEXEU to be ready for a no deal, or a no deal deal scenario.

‎6) Leadsom. That was a joke. I’m moving to France if that happens.

May is also looking at a plan for three new vice chairs of the party, to assist in the required overhaul. It still strikes me as implausible that the Tories can regenerate under May, when they need new leadership. But she does not have many options left other than reconstructing her government.

As for Hammond. Perhaps his Budget will be a huge success, meaning he cannot be moved, thus – in a weird way ‎- presenting May with yet another problem. Either way, get set for an exciting end to the year, against a backdrop of the next Brexit round which will really reveal whether Brussels even wants a deal of any sort.