The vote is the formal end of the long Brexit process, which began nearly five years ago. But mutual mistrust remains high.
Until now, the deadlines have seemed notional and the extensions endless, but New Year’s Eve is when the Brexit transition period ends. Talks could go well beyond that day.
The prime minister blew up over what he called Europe’s insistence that Britain make all the compromises. But Europe says it still wants to talk.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is threatening to cut off negotiations by Oct. 15 if there is no progress. The European Union says the British are not negotiating.
The British prime minister held talks with European Union leaders and agreed to accelerate negotiations on a future trading relationship to try to avoid a brutal break at the end of December.
The government is adamant that it will not seek an extension, saying it will reject the idea even if the European Union asks.
Elizabeth, sequestered at Windsor Castle, offered encouragement in a statement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after a week of mixed messages, hewed to mostly voluntary curbs.