"Get Brexit Done" was the slogan that helped British Prime Minister Boris Johnson win an election.
And he recently set a deadline of October 15th to have struck a trade deal with the bloc.
But as the day arrived, European Union leaders were expected to agree an extension of talks.
Britain left the EU in January and the estranged allies have since been locked in complex negotiations.
Talks have narrowed gaps on issues from social welfare to transport.
But three contentious issues remain: fisheries, fair competition and dispute resolution.
The EU says a deal must come in early November at the latest.
In a call on Wednesday, senior EU officials pushed Johnson for progress.
Ireland is the EU member most exposed to a chaotic rupture with Britain if months of talks fail to produce a new framework for about a trillion euros of annual commerce.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said that with the coronavirus crisis having such a devastating impact on economies, reaching a deal is all the more important:
"I think that is a motivating factor in seeking to arrive at a comprehensive deal, and a good deal, that would be in the interests of our citizens given the current situation in relation to COVID. I think we still can get this result within the timeframe available to us."
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also applied some pressure:
"It will be crazy for the outside world if the UK and EU would not be able to come to an agreement. So I think it's in both our interest economically and geopolitically to get a deal."
Many on financial markets expect a thin deal by early November.
But with several more weeks of drama first.