Thomas Erskine May’s guide to parliamentary practice is properly entitled ‘A treatise on the law, privileges, proceedings and usage of Parliament’ but it is commonly referred to as Erskine May (or simply ‘May’). It is generally held to be the most authoritative reference book on parliamentary procedure.
First published in 1844, when Thomas Erskine May was Assistant Librarian, it is now in its 25th edition.
Parliamentary practice and procedure does not exist in a vacuum: it is intimately bound up with the political environment of Parliament. The eight politically turbulent years since the publication in 2011 of the 24th edition of Thomas Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice have seen a number of significant developments in parliamentary practice and procedure. Some of these have had their origin in the particular context of government programmes of constitutional change, notably the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and the Recall of MPs Act 2015, and the introduction of English votes for English laws in the wake of the outcome of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, reflected in a wholly new chapter (Chapter 27)