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Is the PM about to back down on the Cabinet argument over a post-Brexit customs deal?

Theresa May prefers the Customs Partnership route post-Brexit Credit: PA

Is the Prime Minister about to back down in the crucial cabinet argument over a post-Brexit customs deal?

ITV News has learned that the cabinet's Brexit subcommittee has formed working groups to look over each of the two proposals for a new customs deal.

Tonight one cabinet source suggested this could be a ploy to allow Mrs May's preferred 'Customs Partnership' to die with dignity.

Each working group will be mostly opposed to the option they're considering.

The 'Customs Partnership' - the one Boris Johnson called 'crazy' because it means the UK collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU - will be examined by his Brexiteer allies Liam Fox and Michael Gove, along with David Lidington, a Remainer.

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson were at the forefront of the fight for Brexit Credit: PA

The Brexiteers preferred 'Maximum Facilitation' proposal - the one where new technology keeps goods flowing across borders - will be studied by Remainers Greg Clarke and Karen Bradley, along with the more Brexit-inclined David Davis.

Looking at the personalities involved in the 'Customs Partnership' working group - Fox and Gove versus Lidington - Brexiteers believe it is on the way out.

Number 10 insists the idea is not to give each proposal a going over by its opponents (and anyway ministers' views aren't that 'binary'), but to match them to relevant departmental responsibilities.

The wider Brexit subcommittee meets again on Tuesday and time is running out for the government to find an agreed position to take back to Brussels.

Even if one can be found no-one seems to believe either proposal can be put in place before the implementation period runs out in December 2020.