A number of member states such as Germany and the Republic of Ireland have given the go ahead to broaden EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s powers to meet their self-imposed October deadline.
EU leaders are also said to be prepared to take over Mr Barnier’s gruelling talks should it come to it “just to get this done”, according to City A.M.
Northern Ireland’s border has been a headache for much of the Brexit negotiations, with today’s meeting between Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and Mr Barnier not expected to result in a breakthrough.
But sources have revealed a transition period that will see the UK remain in the EU’s customs union and single market will provide time to “fudge” an agreement.
One government source said: “They were going to sh*t all over the Chequers plan, but when they looked at it and saw how badly it was attacked by both sides in the UK they thought they needed to give Theresa May some room.
“There is a route where the deal that isn’t actually a deal pleases everybody.
“We’re in the world of fudge, and there’s plenty to go around, at the moment they just need to kick it on to give themselves some breathing space.”
Another source said German and Irish policy makers are pushing for greater flexibility “just to get this done”.
The source added: “They want to end uncertainty because it’s not doing them any good.”
He also said there had been a “significant uptick in intensity to get something done for October to give breathing space and calm sentiment”.
A third source said: “There is a greater sense of flexibility – the member states want to support May and they don’t want her booted out of the office, so they recognise some greyness is needed to get us through to transition.
The source added: “The hard discussions could take place then.”
The next European Council will take place in the middle of October, after the Conservative party conference, in which Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis will attend and revolt.
A Westminster source said: “Boris is planning big interventions starting in September.
“He wants to create waves.”
He added: “It could be a very tricky party conference.”