FILE - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen at Downing Street, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019.
FILE - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen at Downing Street, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to ask the European Union to delay Britain's exit from the bloc by at least several months to ensure an orderly divorce.

May is seeking a delay after her plan to have another vote this week on her proposed separation agreement was thrown into disarray by the speaker of parliament.  John Bercow ruled that May cannot keep asking lawmakers to vote on a proposal they have already rejected twice.

The prime minister had hoped to win more support and hold another parliamentary vote on the proposed Brexit deal this week before a crucial EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Almost three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, leaders of the 28-nation bloc are pressuring May to disclose alternate plans. Possible outcomes range from a long-term postponement, exiting the EU under a May agreement, a disruptive divorce without an agreement, or holding another referendum.

May's spokesman said May will send a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday or Wednesday to ask for a delay. The spokesman did not say how long the requested delay will be but said the prime minister wanted it to be as short as possible.

May had set the Brexit date for March 29. She earlier warned lawmakers that if they did not approve her proposal, she would request a delay beyond June 30, a move that Brexit supporters fear would jeopardize Britain's plans to leave the EU.