House of Keys

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House of Keys
Yn Kiare as Feed
Seats 24 MHKs
Isle of Man House of Keys Current Composition.svg
Political groups
Seat Equivalent Vote
Last election
29 September 2011
Next election
22 September 2016
Meeting place
Chamber of the House of Keys, Legislative Buildings, Douglas
Coat of arms of the Isle of Man.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Isle of Man

The House of Keys (Manx: Yn Kiare as Feed) is the directly elected lower branch of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man, the other branch being the Legislative Council.


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 (Manx pronunciation: ['ciːəs 'fid]), the House having always had 24 members. The Manx-language name of the House of Keys remains Yn Kiare 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 18 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/she may vote in the same manner as other members, but he/she 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.



Current members[edit]

Constituency MHKs Affiliation
Ayre Eddie Teare Independent
Castletown Richard Ronan Independent
Douglas East Chris Robertshaw Independent
Jonathan Joughin Independent
Douglas North Ralph Peake Independent
John Houghton Independent
Douglas South Bill Malarkey Independent
Kate Beecroft Liberal Vannin
Douglas West Christopher Thomas Independent
John Shimmin Independent
Garff Vacant Independent
Glenfaba Geoffrey Boot Independent
Malew and Santon Graham Cregeen Independent
Michael Alfred Cannan Independent
Middle Howard Quayle Independent
Onchan Zac Hall Independent
Peter Karran Liberal Vannin
David Quirk Independent
Peel Ray Harmer Independent
Ramsey Leonard Singer Independent
Allan Bell Independent
Rushen Phil Gawne Independent
Laurence Skelly Independent
Juan Watterson Independent

Members' salaries, expenses allowances, and benefits[edit]

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.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°09′03″N 4°28′56″W / 54.15083°N 4.48222°W / 54.15083; -4.48222