Speaker of the House of Keys

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The Speaker of the House of Keys (Manx: Loayreyder yn Chiare as Feed) is the principal officer of the House of Keys, the lower house of the Isle of Man legislature. The Speaker is elected from the membership of the House at its first sitting after an election. He is responsible for controlling the procedure of the House and for authoritative interpretation of its standing orders. He sets the business of the House and authorises the order of business of the House for each sitting. The Speaker uses the letters SHK after his name.

The Speaker is not entitled to speak in debates in the House, but is entitled to vote. If a vote is tied, convention dictates that he votes to continue debate or retain the status quo.

All Speakers from 1750 to 1898 were either members of the Moore or Taubman families or married into them. Until 1866, the Keys were unelected.

Before the House was first elected in 1867 the role of Speaker was assumed to be for life. Thus when Edward Moore Gawne resigned in 1867, he was the first Speaker not to die in office. Since then, although it is possible to resign the office, or nowadays even to fail to be re-elected, all Speakers died in office until Sir Charles Kerruish in 1990 (with the exception of John Robert Kerruish who was elected to Legislative Council in 1919). Since then none have died in office.

Speakers dress in the same official dress as the Speaker of the British House of Commons: a black silk damask gold lace robe with full bottom wig for state occasions and a black silk gown for normal day business. The current robe was donated by the Speaker of the House of Commons in 1966 to commemorate the centenary of popular elections to the House of Keys.

On 27 September 2016, Juan Watterson was elected as Speaker, the youngest person to hold the office at 36 years 85 days.

Chairmen of the House of the Keys[edit]

Speakers of the House of Keys[edit]

Recent elections[edit]

Year Candidates Votes Elected
2016 Juan Watterson unopposed Juan Watterson
2011 Steve Rodan unopposed Steve Rodan
2006 Steve Rodan 10 votes
David Cannan 7 votes
Quintin Gill 6 votes
2006 Tony Brown Tony Brown
2001 Tony Brown
David Cannan