May – the "Bible" of parliamentary procedure – is now available for free and full online reading for the first time.
The book is the go-to guide for anyone in British politics and is often cited by Speaker John Bercow.
Previous editions were only available in print – with the most recent publication priced at £ 329.99.
Parliamentary authorities also confirmed that future book updates will be available online.
The new edition, the 25th, is now on the parlament.uk website and is completely accessible and searchable.
Bercow said he was "delighted" with development, adding that "parliamentary practices and procedures do not exist in a vacuum".
The current clerk of the House of Commons, dr. John Benger, said Erskine May "attracts broad public interest as a source of information and is also influential in many other countries".
"The digital version will retain the iconic status of Erskine May while opening parliamentary practice to a wider audience, which is all the more important at this time of such great constitutional and procedural turbulence."
The first edition was published in 1844 when Erskine May was a housekeeper.
The most recent edition is the 25th print.
What changes have arrived since the last edition in 2011?
Here are some snippets of the new online version:
- English votes for English laws – introduced in 2015, this means that some laws that directly affect England and Wales can only be voted by British and Welsh MPs
- Fixed-term parliaments law – enacted in 2011 – means that Parliament must remain in office for five years unless two-thirds of parliamentarians vote for early elections
- The reference to the law on parliamentarians – established in 2015, allows an electoral college to recall an MP for misconduct in the office
- The creation of e-petitions – launched in 2011 – allows ordinary citizens to raise topics for discussion at Westminster Hall. The government responds to 10,000 signatures, 100,000 the petition is discussed in Parliament
- Changes to UK law as the country continues with its planned exit from the European Union