Second update to the 25th edition of Erskine May

About updates

Following the publication online of the 25th Edition of Erskine May, updates will be made to the text up to twice per year. It is not intended for these updates between hard copy editions to include minor corrections or updates relating to events which do not significantly change our understanding of practice or procedure. Entire paragraphs within numbered sections will be replaced when:

  • they contain a significant error
  • significant procedural event or development has occurred, or
  • changes such as new provisions or Standing Orders have been introduced.

Where significant events or changes have occurred (such as temporary hybrid pandemic procedures and EU scrutiny changes following Brexit) an overview of the situation will be inserted, and the text updated where most relevant. Substantial revision of the text may in some cases be made at a later update or next hard copy edition.

The version of Erskine May on the UK Parliament website allows you to highlight paragraphs within numbered sections which have been substantively changed in the most recent update. A schedule of updated numbered paragraphs will be published for each update alongside a summary of key changes (as below).

The numbering of paragraphs will be maintained. Where paragraphs are deleted the redundant paragraph number will be combined with the previous paragraph number (e.g. [5.42-5.43]). New paragraphs which are not at the end of a chapter will repeat the previous paragraph number followed by ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ etc.

Update 2: August 2021

The second update was published in August 2021 and reflects developments since the previous set of updates, made in March 2020, and before the end of June 2021. The key changes include:

  • Temporary arrangements put in place to allow proceedings to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 in the House of Commons [Para 17.7A and 38.1 ] and House of Lords [Para 25.90].
  • Changes to reflect the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union [Paras 32.1 to 32.15] including the closure of the National Parliament Office (NPO) in Brussels [Para 32.15].
  • The invalid prorogation on 9 September 2019 and the resignification of Royal Assent [Paras 30.36 and 30.40].
  • Scope of debate on the Queen’s Speech [Para 8.37].
  • Recent treatment of motions under Standing Order 24 (Emergency debates) including as a method for putting aside Standing Order 14 (Arrangement of public business), neutrality and advance publication of a motion for an emergency debate [Paras 18.11, 18.38, 19.22].
  • Restoration of the normal sitting hours when the House is recalled from a periodic adjournment on the day before it was due to sit [Para 17.2].
  • The European Scrutiny Committee’s use in June 2020 of its temporary, statutory power to trigger a debate in the Chamber in Government time on its reports [Para 38.86].
  • Changes to the way European Union scrutiny is done by Parliament following Brexit including:
    • European Statutory Instruments Committee (ESIC) reappointment (without prescribed gender balance) to "sift" proposed negative instruments following the passing of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and with a new statutory role regarding the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement [Paras 31.32, 32.1, and 38.11]
    • continuing scrutiny by the European Scrutiny Committee of EU documents which engage the Protocol on Northern Ireland to the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement and related matters[Paras 38.71 and 38.72]
    • the creation of the House of Lords European Affairs Committee [Para 32.14].
  • Changes to rules and processes relating to conduct including:
    • the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS)
    • non-ICGS cases
    • endorsement by the House of Commons of the House of Commons Commission report extending the ICGS to non-recent cases [Para 5.2]
    • personal statements [Para 19.24]
    • establishment of the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) by the House on 23 June 2020 to determine complaints against MPs of bullying or harassment under the ICGS [Para 5.5a], and clarification that the Recall of MPs Act 2015 does not apply to sanctions determined by the IEP [Para 2.9 and 11.31]
    • replacement of the Lords Committee for Privileges and Conduct and creation of the Lords Conduct Committee and the Procedure and Privileges Committee [Paras 40.2, 40.46 and 40.60]
    • changes to reflect the July 2020 edition of the House of Lords Code of Conduct and Guide to the Code of Conduct [Para 5.27]
  • Changes to the structure of the House of Commons Administration following the 2020 Clerk’s Review of team structures [Paras 6.6 to 6.16].
  • The ability of the House of Commons Committee of Selection to meet on a day on which the House does not sit by permission of the Chairman of Ways and Means [Para 43.11].
  • Recent court proceedings relating to parliamentary material [Para 13.15], the standing of MPs in court cases [Para 16.32] and the appeal on Gannon & Warsama v Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Sasha Wass QC [2020] EWCA Civ 142 relating to what constitutes a proceeding of Parliament [Paras 13.12 and 16.31].
  • Matters that the Chair may consider when deciding whether a motion or an amendment may be brought forward again during a session when it is the same insubstance as a question which has been decided during that same session [Para 20.12].
  • Clarification of the definition of Bills of Aids and Supplies to include that they are founded upon Ways and Means resolutions and create a charge upon the people [Paras 33.21 and 36.43] and that bills concerning taxation which do not create a charge upon the people may also be brought in upon Ways and Means resolutions [Para 36.43].
  • Proceedings on bills including:
    • the introduction (in the Commons) and passage through all stages in both Houses to Royal Assent at one sitting on 30 December 2020 of the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill [Para 30.42]
    • Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill which had a business of the House order providing for the Bill to be taken into consideration on a future day even if reported from a Committee of the whole House without amendment [Para 28.126]

Schedule of updates

The table shows paragraphs in which substantive updates and/or corrections have been made to the online version of Erskine May. The table does not include paragraphs where the only change was to update the names of committees which have been replaced since the publication of the 25th edition when referring to current practice. It also excludes paragraphs where only a minor correction has been made.

Update two: made July 2021 and published August 2021
Part Chapter Paragraph
1 2 2.9
5 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5a[new para], 5.6, 5.23, 5.24, 5.25, 5.26, 5.27, 5.28, 5.29, 5.30, 5.32, 5.33, 5.34, 5.35, 5.37, 5.38, 5.39, 5.40, 5.41, 5.42-5.43, 5.44, 5.45, 5.47
6 6.2, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 6.10, 6.11, 6.12, 6.13a[new para], [6.14 deleted], 6.15, 6.16, 6.18, 6.42
8 8.37
2 11 11.6, 11.30, 11.31
13 13.12, 13.15
16 16.31, 16.32[new para]
3 17 17.1, 17.2, 17.7a[new para]
18 18.11, 18.38
19 19.22, 19.24
20 20.12
22 22.10
25 25.90[new para]
4 28 28.44, 28.126
30 30.36, 30.40, 30.42
31 31.32
32 32.1, 32.2, 32.3, 32.4, 32.5, 32.11, 32.12, 32.14, 32.15,
5 33 33.21
36 36.43
6 38 38.1, 38.11, 38.21, 38.71, 38.72, 38.78, 38.86
40 40.1, 40.2, 40.9, 40.10, 40.46, 40.60
7 43 43.11