Letter from Gladstone to Thomas Erskine May
By 1881 May was firmly established as a Clerk of great substance. He elaborated the rules for questions to ministers; relevance in debate was insisted on; the number of potential divisions, particularly on legislation, was drastically streamlined. Ultimately he succeeded in making best use of the very limited time available on the floor of the house.
This letter from Prime Minister William Gladstone in November 1881 emphasises how pivotal May's advice was to the Government and the conduct of its business.