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Country ‘clamours’ for parliamentary rule book to go online

PARLIAMENT’s rule book should be available online for the public to view, according to Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom.

The Conservative frontbencher (pictured) joked that people across the nation are ‘clamouring’ for an online copy of Erskine May as she backed calls for it to be distributed more widely.

Labour former minister Chris Bryant had said people were ‘demanding’ the rule book be freely available.

Thomas Erskine May’s guide to parliamentary practice was first published in 1844 and is in its 24th edition.

Demand: Labour MP Chris Bryant asked for the document to be made available to the public PICS: REX/PA

The book, regarded as the most authoritative on parliamentary procedure, was cited frequently on Wednesday as MPs debated whether a Labour motion seeking to force the Government to publish Brexit impact assessments was binding or not.

Mr Bryant, raising a point of order, said: ‘I think there was a bit of a difference of opinion as to whether Erskine May is online or not. It is available on the intranet in a 1,000-page PDF, which expressly says it’s not to be used for the public.

‘What I’m asking, and I hope the commitment from the Leader of the House is clear, that we will now be making it available to the whole of the country.

‘Because the people of this country are demanding Erskine May be available to them without having to buy a copy of the book.’

Mrs Leadsom said: ‘May I suggest to you that you might like to start a petition and once you’re able to show 100,000 signatures – no, I jest.

‘Obviously, you’re absolutely right. Everybody in their living room is clamouring for their own online copy of Erskine May.

‘As I said to you earlier, I will look into it, I agree it should be available online and I will see what can be done.’