Legislative Council

Yn Choonceil Slattyssagh
Laurence Skelly
since 20 July 2021
Legislative Council of the Isle of Man as of Apr 2020.svg
Political groups
  •   Independent (8)
  •   Ex officio (3)
Indirect election
Meeting place
The Wedding Cake - geograph.org.uk - 566474.jpg
Chamber of the Legislative Council, Legislative Buildings, Douglas

The Legislative Council (Manx: Yn Choonceil Slattyssagh) is the upper chamber of Tynwald, the legislature of the Isle of Man. The abbreviation "LegCo" is often used.[1]

It consists of eleven members (MLCs):

Historically, most or all elected MLCs were former MHKs, but this practice has now much reduced or ceased.

Formerly, the Lieutenant Governor presided over the Legislative Council and over Tynwald Court (a joint session of the Council and the House of Keys). Now, however, the President of Tynwald, who is chosen by the whole Tynwald for a five-year term, is the ex officio President of the Legislative Council, and presides over both the Legislative Council and Tynwald Court, except that the Lieutenant Governor presides once a year on Tynwald Day.

Furthermore, the Church of England Bishop of Sodor and Man and the Attorney General have seats on the Legislative Council. The Bishop is a voting member, the Attorney General is a non-voting member, and the President has the casting vote.

The Council does not usually originate legislation (until recently the last Act originating from the Council was the Sharing of Church Buildings Act 1986)[citation needed]. Instead, it reviews draft legislation originating from the House of Keys. However, it is possible for legislation to originate in the Council: a recent example is the Equality Act 2017.[2][3]

Method of election

The MLCs are elected by the members of the House of Keys for a term of five years. Four MLCs retire at a time, and four new MLCs are then elected. An MLC must be at least 21 years old and resident in the Isle of Man. Historically the election procedure has been cumbersome, and on some occasions in recent years the election has required many ballots, stretching over a period of weeks or even months. However the Standing Orders of the House of Keys regarding the election of MLCs were amended on 4 April 2017, and a relevant Guidance Note was issued by the Speaker of the House of Keys in June 2017. In 2018, only one ballot was required, although some felt that that was at the cost of allowing members to vote for an excessive number of candidates (one member voted for 13 candidates out of 15 and another for 11).[4][5]

A motion was proposed in the Keys on 28 January 2020, shortly before the 2020 MLC election, which would have prevented MHKs voting for more candidates than there are places to be filled, but this was rejected. In 2020, again only one ballot was required, and members voted for an average of about 4 candidates each.

2016 Review of the Functioning of Tynwald

For many years there has been considerable debate about the functioning of Tynwald, and specifically about the composition, method of election, and functions of the Legislative Council. In the past, a number of reforms were made in the composition of the Legislative Council, which are set out below. In 2016 Lord Lisvane was asked to carry out a review of the functioning of Tynwald.[6] Among his recommendations were:

However there has been little action to implement these recommendations.

1990 reform and current composition

The Lieutenant Governor was removed as Presiding Officer of Tynwald and replaced by a member of Tynwald elected by the Members of the High Court of Tynwald as President of Tynwald. (Currently only MHKs are electors.) The President of Tynwald is also a member of the Legislative Council and presides at its sittings. The members are thus:

The non-ex officio members are elected by the House of Keys for terms which end at the end of February immediately before the fifth anniversary of their election.

Current membership

Name Position Tenure Predecessor
Laurence Skelly President of Tynwald 2021–2026 Steve Rodan
Peter Eagles Bishop of Sodor and Man Since 2017 Robert Paterson
Vacant Attorney-General John Quinn
Marlene Maska[a] Elected members 2018–2023
Tanya August-Hanson[b]
Paul Craine 2021–2023
Diane Kelsey
Peter Greenhill 2020–2025
Bill Henderson
Rob Mercer
Kerry Sharpe
  1. ^ Elected under the name of Marlene Hendy.
  2. ^ Elected under the name of Tanya Humbles.

Membership of the council since 1990

Year Reason for change Previous Candidates
January 2022 Death of John Quinn
23 November 2021 Election of two MLCs as MHKs Jane Poole-Wilson
Kate Lord-Brennan
Paul Craine (elected)
Diane Kelsey (elected)
Bill Shimmins
Corelli Bentham
Craig Brown
MaryBeth Coll
Conor Keenan
In 2021 Steve Rodan reached the end of his term as President and was replaced by Laurence Skelly.
12 March 2020 Scheduled election David Cretney
Tim Crookall
Bill Henderson
Kerry Sharpe
Peter Greenhill (elected)
Bill Henderson (elected)
Robert Mercer (elected)
Kerry Sharpe (elected)
Danielle Bell
Michelle Haywood
Haafizah Hoosen
Carole Lillywhite
Zahed Miah
12 March 2018 Scheduled election, and casual vacancy by resignation[7]
  • Michael Coleman
  • Geoff Corkish
  • Jane Poole-Wilson
  • Juan Turner
  • Tanya Humbles (now Tanya August-Hanson)(elected)
  • Marlene Hendy (now Marlene Maska)(elected)
  • Kate Lord-Brennan (elected)
  • Jane Poole-Wilson (elected)
  • David Anderson (resigned, term ending Feb 2020)
  • Kerry Sharpe (elected)
  • Kevin Cartledge
  • Shirley Ellen Corlett
  • Andrea Chambers
  • Richard Furner
  • Andrew Hardy
  • Juan Kelly
  • Dawn Joughin
  • Alistair Ramsay
  • John Skinner
  • Christine Wheeler
2017 Casual vacancy by resignation Tony Wild
  • Jane Poole-Wilson (elected)
  • Paul Beckett
  • Alan Wright
2015 Scheduled election
  • Phil Braidwood
  • Dudley Butt
  • Alan Crowe
  • Alex Downie
  • David Anderson (elected)
  • David Cretney (elected)
  • Tim Crookall (elected)
  • Bill Henderson (elected)
  • Paul Beckett
  • Phil Braidwood
  • Christopher Kinley
  • Thomas Moyle
  • Adrian Tinkler
Note: As on other occasions, the 2015 elections took place over several sessions and many ballots.
These candidates did not all take part in all the ballots.
For the same reason it would not be useful to give the number of votes cast for each candidate.
2013 Scheduled election
  • Michael Coleman (elected)
  • Geoff Corkish (elected)
  • Juan Turner (elected)
  • Tony Wild (elected)
  • Linda Bowers-Kasch
  • Peter Hill
  • Nigel Malpass
2011 Casual vacancy by elevation to President of Tynwald Clare Christian
  • Tony Wild, 16 votes (elected)
  • Brian Rae, 5 votes
2011 Casual vacancy by resignation Noel Cringle
2011 Appointment of Attorney General, following resignation John Corlett QC Stephen Harding QC
2010 Scheduled election
  • Phil Braidwood (elected)
  • Dudley Butt (elected)
  • Alan Crowe (elected)
  • Alex Downie (elected)
2008 Scheduled election
2008 Appointment of Bishop of Sodor and Man Graeme Paul Knowles Robert Paterson
2007 Casual vacancies by resignation
2005 Scheduled election
  • Dominic Delaney
  • Howard Parkin
2003 Scheduled election, and casual vacancy by resignation
2003 Appointment of Bishop of Sodor and Man, following resignation Noël Jones Graeme Knowles
2002 Casual vacancy by death Norman Radcliffe
2000 Scheduled election
  • Dominic Delaney (elected)
  • Edgar Mann (elected)
  • Norman Radcliffe (elected)
  • George Waft (elected)
2000 Casual vacancy by resignation of the President of Tynwald Charles Kerruish
1998 Appointment of Attorney General, following promotion to First Deemster Mike Kerruish QC John Corlett QC
1998 Scheduled election
  • Charles Cain
  • Andrew Douglas
  • Adrian Duggan
  • Robert Quayle
  • Richard Radcliffe
1995 Scheduled election
  • Arnold Callin
  • Edward Clifford Irving
  • Norman Radcliffe
  • George Waft
  • Dominic Delaney (elected)
  • Edgar Mann (elected)
  • Norman Radcliffe (elected)
  • George Waft (elected)
  • Other nominations unknown
1994 Casual vacancy by death W K Quirk
  • George Waft (elected)
  • Other nominations unknown
1993 Scheduled election
  • Brian Barton, 15 votes (elected)
  • Clare Christian, 17 votes (elected)
  • Edmund Lowey, 14 votes (elected)
  • Arthur Luft, 16 votes (elected)
  • Norman Butler, 7 votes
  • J A S Christian, 8 votes
  • Charles Cain, 6 votes
  • R B M Quayle, 8 votes
  • R Rawcliffe, 5 votes
1990 Scheduled election
  • Mr Callin
  • Mr Irving
  • Mr Quirk
  • Mr Radcliffe
  • Arnold Callin (elected)
  • Edward Clifford Irving (elected)
  • Norman Radcliffe (elected)
  • W K Quirk (elected)
  • John Callister Clucas
  • Dominic Delaney
  • A C Duggan
  • David Moore

Past membership

Name Position Tenure Replacing
Robert Paterson Bishop of Sodor and Man 2008–2016 Graeme Paul Knowles
Stephen Harding QC Attorney General 2011–2013 John Corlett
Alan Crowe Elected member 1998–2002 Brian Barton
Elected member 2007–2015 Leonard Singer
Dudley Butt Elected member 2005–2015 Dominic Delaney
Alex Downie Elected member 2005–2015 Ray Kniveton
Phil Braidwood Elected member 2010–2015 George Waft
Tony Wild Elected member 2011–2017 Clare Christian
David Callister Elected member 2008–2013 Pam Crowe
Edmund Lowey Elected member 1982–2013 George Swales
Leonard Singer Elected member 2003–2006 Alan Crowe
Arthur Christian Luft Attorney General 1972–1974 Lay
Elected member 1988–1998 Ian Anderson
John William Corrin Attorney General 1974–1980 Arthur Luft
Thomas William Cain QC Attorney General 1980–1993 Jack Corrin
Michael Kerruish QC Attorney General 1993–1998 William Cain
John Corlett QC Attorney General 1998–2011 Michael Kerruish
Graeme Knowles Bishop of Sodor and Man 2003–2008 Noël Jones
Donald Gelling Elected member 2002–2007 Norman Radcliffe
Clifford Irving Elected member 1987–1995 Matty Ward
Noel Cringle President of Tynwald 2000–2011 Sir Charles Kerruish
Sir Charles Kerruish President of Tynwald 1990–2000 Ian Anderson
Ian Anderson Elected member 1982–1988 Geoff Crellin
President of the Legislative Council 1988–1990 Jack Nivison
Elected member 1990–1993 New position, 8th elected member
Jack Nivison Elected member 1962–1980 Alfred Teare
President of the Legislative Council 1980–1988 New position
The Venerable J. Kewley Archdeacon 1912–1919 Un­known
Cyril Hughes-Games Vicar General 1906–1919 Un­known
Joseph Qualtrough Elected member 1919–1933 New position
Joseph Cunningham Elected member 1919–1924 New position
R C Cain Elected member 1919–1924[clarification needed] Joseph Cunningham
John Robert Kerruish Elected member 1919–1924 New position
William Southward Elected member 1919–1943 New position
George Drinkwater Appointee of Lieutenant Governor 1919–1920 New position
Richard Barton Quirk Appointee of Lieutenant Governor 1919–1942 New position
Sir John Bolton Appointed member 1962–1970 John Crellin
Elected member 1971–1979 Henry Nicholls
G C Gale Elected member 1964–1966 Ewan Farrant
Ffinlo Corkill Elected member 1966–1974 G C Gale
Major Geoffrey Crellin Elected member 1975–1982 New position
Norman Crowe OBE JP Elected member 1970–1978 Cecil McFee
Captain John Crellin OBE MC JP Appointed member 1943–1962 Daniel Teare
Betty Hanson Elected member 1982–1988 Alfred Simcocks MBE
Robert Kerruish Elected member 1970–1985 Un­known
Victor Kneale Elected member 1974–1981 Hubert Radcliffe
Roy MacDonald Elected member 1978–1985 Norman Crowe
Cecil McFee Un­known 1962–1971 Un­known
Alec Moore Elected member 1979–1985 William E Quayle
Henry Nicholls Elected member 1958–1970 Joseph Callister
William E Quayle Elected member 1970–1978 New position
Willy Quirk Elected member 1987–1993 Dr Edgar Mann
Norman Radcliffe Elected member 1985–2002 Roy MacDonald
Percy Radcliffe Elected member 1980–1985 Sir John Bolton
Alfred Simcocks MBE Elected member 1974–1982 Ffinlo Corkhill
George Swales Elected member 1982–1982 Victor Kneale
Matthew Ward Elected member 1985–1987 Alec Moore
Arthur Attwell Bishop of Sodor and Man 1983–1988 Vernon Nicholls
Noël Jones Bishop of Sodor and Man 1989–2003 Arthur Attwell
Vernon Nicholls Bishop of Sodor and Man 1973–1983 Un­known
George Moore First Deemster 1969–1974 Un­known
Sir Ralph Stevenson GCMG CP JP Appointed member 1955–1970 Un­known
William Watson Christian Un­known 1848–1867 Un­known
The Rev. William Christian Un­known 1883–1887 Un­known
William Quirk Un­known 1887–1893 Un­known
William Anderson Receiver General 1894–1909 Un­known
John Cowell Receiver General 1909–1919 William Anderson
John Goldie-Taubman Appointed member 1921–1924 George Drinkwater
Edward Callister Elected member 1921–1931 John Robert Kerruish
John Clucas Appointed member 1924–1928 John Goldie-Taubman
Frank Dagleish Elected member 1931–1946 Edward Callister
Charles Gill Elected member 1934–1954 Arthur Crookall
Arthur Crookall Elected member 1934–1935 Joseph Qualtrough
Joseph Callister Elected member 1946–1958 Un­known
Ewan Farrant Elected member 1954–1964 Un­known
Hubert Radcliffe Un­known 1963–1974 Un­known

Historical composition


The original function of the Legislative Council was executive (i.e. giving advice to the Lieutenant Governor — or Lords of Mann prior to Revestment) and its membership was entirely appointed, as follows:

Historically the "Comptroller" (a position sometimes held together with another office such as that of Receiver-General) and an "Archdeacon's Official" were also members. Before the Reformation the Council included other prelates, such as the Abbot of Rushen.

The first seven were Crown appointments and the last two appointments by the Bishop. Reforms were slowly made to reduce the number of judicial and religious appointments and these members were slowly replaced by indirectly elected members.

1917 reform

In 1917, the Judicature (Amendment) Act introduced by the Legislative Council removed Clerk of the Rolls from the composition of the Council. It then consisted of the following members:

1919 reform

In 1919, The Archdeacon; the Vicar General; and the Receiver General were removed as ex officio members of the Council by the Isle of Man Constitution Amendment Act 1919. The members were thus:

1961 reform

Increased the number of elected members from four to five.

1965 reform

The Second Deemster lost his seat in the Council. The members were thus:

1969 reform

The Isle of Man Constitution Act 1969 removed the two appointed members of the Legislative Council. The members were thus:[9]

1971 reform

The Isle of Man Constitution Act 1971 removed the Attorney-General's vote, and he no longer counted towards a quorum.

1975 reform

The First Deemster lost his seat in the Council, by virtue of the Isle of Man Constitution (Amendment) Act 1975. The members were thus:

1980 reform

The Lieutenant Governor was removed as Presiding Officer and replaced by an indirectly elected President of the Legislative Council. The Governor still presided at joint sittings of Tynwald. The members were thus:


  1. ^ "'Sunset Clauses' back in LegCo".
  2. ^ "Tynwald - Parliament of the Isle of Man - 2016-2021".
  3. ^ "Tynwald - Parliament of the Isle of Man - Chapter 7 - Making Legislation".
  4. ^ "Speaker denies voting system lacks principle".
  5. ^ "Chief Minister: MLC elections". YouTube.
  6. ^ Review of the Functioning of Tynwald, Isle of Man Government, 19 July 2016
  7. ^ "12 March 2018 House of Keys Hansard" (pdf). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 14. Vol. 134. Isle of Man: House of Keys. 12 March 2018. pp. 699–708.
  8. ^ "Tynwald - Parliament of the Isle of Man - Legislative Council up to 1919". Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  9. ^ http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/19601980/LC-19690603-v0086.pdf[bare URL PDF]

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