House of Keys
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|House of Keys
Kiare as Feed
|29 September 2011|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Isle of Man
The oldest known reference to the name is in a document of 1417, written by an English scholar in Latin, which refers to Claves Mann and Claves Legis ("The Keys of Mann" and "The Keys of Law"). There is a dispute, however, over the origin of the name. The word "keys" is thought by some to be an English corruption of a form of the Norse verb kjósa meaning "to choose". However a more likely explanation is that it is a mishearing of the Manx-language term for "four and twenty", kiare as feed (pronounced kee-air...), the House having always had 24 members. The Manx-language name of the House of Keys remains Y Chiare as Feed ("The Four and Twenty").
Members are known as Members of the House of Keys, (MHKs). Citizens over the age of 16 may vote, while one must be at least 21 years old and a resident of the Island for three years to be elected. There are 15 constituencies, based on the sheadings and other local government units. There are currently two 3-member constituencies, five 2-member constituencies and eight 1-member constituencies. The term of the House of Keys is normally fixed at five years, but provisions exist for dissolution before the expiration of the term.
The Speaker of the House of Keys (SHK) is an MHK chosen to be the presiding officer. He may vote in the same manner as other members, but he may also abstain, unlike the others; however, if the vote is tied the Speaker may not abstain and must cast the deciding vote. Unusually for a legislative body attendance is required by law and if a member cannot attend they must request permission for absence.
The House of Keys elects most of the members of the Legislative Council. Legislation does not usually originate in the Council. Thus, the Keys have much more power than the Council, which performs the function of a revising chamber.
The House of Keys meets about once each month with the Legislative Council in a joint session called "Tynwald Court". The President of Tynwald, elected by both branches, presides over Tynwald Court and over the Legislative Council. Once each year, however, the Lieutenant Governor presides on Tynwald Day, the Isle of Man's national day.
Members' salaries, expenses allowances, and benefits
From 1 April 2014
- Members' basic salary: £38,771.00 per annum
- General expenses allowance: £6,575.90 per annum (tax-free and without production of receipts)
- Travel expenses (subject to the production of receipts)
- Free secretarial and mailing support
For details of the members' pension scheme and a list of the additional sums payable to certain office-holders, see the official Tynwald page at http://www.tynwald.org.im/memoff/remall/Pages/default.aspx
- House of Keys
- Elections to the House
- Enfranchisement @ 16 years (BBC)
- iomelections.com - 2006 General Election
- Access to work & info of members of IoM Tynwald
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Key". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.