Source close to European Union negotiator Michel Barnier revealed that a "major concession" had been made on the Irish border during a meeting in London last week that will see regulatory checks on goods carried out at factories and shops rather than being conducted at the border.
Theresa May appears to have accepted that an open border with the Irish Republic is absolutely vital - despite its regular exploitation by organised criminals and illegal migrants - but can not leave Northern Ireland in the Customs Union by itself, as this would lead to customs checks between Britain's Home Nations.
Writing in the Sunday Times, David Davis said: "We need cards laid on the table so that we can form a judgment".
The European Union and Ireland want guarantees there will be no physical structures delimiting the land border between the Irish republic and Northern Ireland after Britain leaves the EU, if negotiations fail to regulate the issue.
Mr Lidington replied by saying: "We're certainly. very close to resolving it".
May is also understood to be close to a political deal on a future economic partnership (FEP) with Brussels that would give Britain the green light to pursue a free trade deal similar to Canada.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is "dancing on head of pin".
"We are making good progress on the future relationship, and 95% of the Withdrawal Agreement has been settled".
It said Mr Raab made the proposal to Mr Coveney in London last week.
It is said that the Prime Minister hopes the agreement will placate remain-backing Tories and win over some Labour MPs.
Both sides agree there must be no customs posts or other barriers that could disrupt businesses and residents or undermine Northern Ireland's peace.
"While we too hope the Northern Ireland backstop will never be required to be used, it will be required to be written down in legal text".
However, May's former Brexit Secretary has said she must publish legal advice on any deal ahead of a Commons vote, so MPs are fully briefed.
'I am assuming the Government will stick to its manifesto commitment to leaving the customs union when we leave the EU'.
Waterstones chief executive James Daunt, ex-Sainsbury (Amsterdam: SJ6.AS - news) 's chief executive Justin King, Lastminute.com founder Baroness Lane-Fox and Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed are among over 70 signatories of a letter calling for a second Brexit referendum.
Reports of a secret Brexit deal come just as more than 70 business leaders signed a letter calling for a second referendum after warning that a bad deal could threaten the United Kingdom jobs industry.