Weird day yesterday. Mrs May, talking to Irish businesses, said she wasn't going to replace the backstop... WTF? The only way to get the deal through parliament is to replace the backstop... Did she mean she wasn't going to replace it but get it moved from the withdrawal deal to the trade deal? The DUP adamant that the backstop had to go, if she somehow got it through parliament with the backstop tempered by a codicil in the trade deal, the DUP would then kill the government in a confidence vote.
The Irish were adamant that the backstop would stay in the withdrawal agreement, as were the EU, but when you ask them what would happen if there was no deal and the PM kept to her promise of no hard border in Ireland they have no answer, only that the UK can extend or revoke Article 50 rather than have no deal... don't think so! Dr Fox reluctantly admitted that the zero tariff option was under consideration - zero tariff applied to all imports from around the world, that is. With the UK happy with an open border in Ireland how are the EU going to react to no deal, zero tariff products streaming into NI by the boat load?
Then Mr Tusk, one of many rule-loving bureaucrats in the EU, was so annoyed by the British character - which tends towards a dislike of excessive rules - that he opined there was a special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without an idea of how to implement it. As said before, the EU has dug itself into a hole over the backstop because if they don't get rid of it, no deal looms which means they then face down their own contradictory positions - no border in Ireland and no access to the single market for non-members of the EU.
The sad thing is, Mrs May still has not got her head around the strength of her position and still undermines herself by suddenly saying she is not going to replace the backstop.