Erskine May

Thomas Erskine May, 1st Baron Farnborough, KCB, PC (8 February 1815 – 17 May 1886) was a British constitutional theorist and Clerk of the House of Commons.


The Lord Farnborough

Under Clerk of the Parliaments
In office
16 February 1871  17 April 1886
MonarchVictoria
Preceded bySir Denis Le Marchant, Bt
Succeeded bySir Reginald Palgrave
Personal details
Born
Thomas Erskine May

8 February 1815
Highgate, Middlesex, England,
United Kingdom
Died17 May 1886(1886-05-17) (aged 71)
St George Hanover Square, Middlesex, England,
United Kingdom

His seminal work, A Treatise upon the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament (first published in 1844) has become known as Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice or simply Erskine May: this parliamentary authority (book of procedural rules) is currently in its 25th revised edition (2019) and is informally considered part of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Following his retirement as Clerk of the House of Commons in May 1886, May was created "Baron Farnborough, of Farnborough, in the county of Southampton" just a week before his death (since he left no heirs, the barony became extinct, making it the second-shortest-lived peerage in British history).