The Legislative Council (Manx: Yn Choonceil Slattyssagh) is the upper chamber of Tynwald, the legislature of the Isle of Man. It is often referred to as "LegCo".

It consists of eleven Members (MLCs):

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 a large number of 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 feel 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).[1][2]

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 the Equalities Bill currently going through Tynwald (as at March 2017) originated in the Council.

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. Among his recommendations were:

  • Members of LegCo should continue not to be directly elected, but instead should be nominated by an independent Nominations Commission to the House of Keys. No sitting MHK could be nominated.
  • LegCo should not vote on taxation or appropriation.
  • Only exceptionally should MLCs be ministers.
  • The Bishop should continue as an ex officio voting member of LegCo.

1990 reform and current composition

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

  • President of Tynwald
  • Attorney General
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Eight members elected by the House of Keys

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 Replacing
Steve Rodan President of Tynwald 2016-2021 Clare Christian
Peter Eagles Bishop of Sodor and Man Since 2017 Robert Paterson
John Quinn Acting Attorney General
Attorney General
Stephen Harding
David Cretney Elected Members 2015-20 -
Bill Henderson
Timothy Crookall
Jane Poole-Wilson 2017-23
Kate Lord-Brennan 2018-23
Tanya August-Hanson1
Marlene Hendy
Kerry Sharpe 2018-20

1 Elected under the name of Tanya Humbles

In marked contrast to tradition, all five members elected in March 2018 are women.


Year Reason for
Previous members Candidates
12/3/2018 Scheduled 5 vacancies:

Four for a five-year term, replacing

  • Juan Turner
  • Michael Coleman
  • Geoff Corkish, and
  • Jane Poole-Wilson,

and one for a two-year term, replacing David Anderson who stood down.

  • Jane Poole-Wilson (elected5)
  • Kate Lord-Brennan (elected5)
  • Tanya Humbles (elected5)
  • Marlene Hendy (elected5)
  • Kerry Sharpe (elected2)
  • Kevin Cartledge
  • Shirley Ellen Corlett
  • Dawn Joughin
  • Andrea Chambers
  • Juan Kelly
  • John Skinner
  • Alistair Ramsay
  • Christine Wheeler
  • Richard Furner
  • Andrew Hardy

5 Elected for 5 year term
2 Elected for 2 year term

2017 Resignation of Tony Wild
  • Tony Wild
  • Jane Poole-Wilson (elected)
  • Paul Beckett
  • Alan Wright
2015 Scheduled
  • Phil Braidwood
  • Dudley Butt
  • Alan Crowe
  • Alex Downie
  • Bill Henderson (elected)
  • David Cretney (elected)
  • Tim Crookall (elected)
  • David Anderson (elected)
  • Phil Braidwood
  • Paul Beckett
  • 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
2011 Elevation of President of Tynwald
  • Brian Rae, 5 votes
  • Tony Wild, 16 votes, elected
2011 Resignation of the President of Tynwald
2011 Resignation of the Attorney General
2010 Scheduled
2008 Scheduled
2008 Change in Lord Bishop
2007 Resignations
2005 Scheduled
  • Dudley Butt (elected)
  • Dominic Delaney
  • Alex Downie (elected)
  • Donald Gelling (elected)
  • Howard Parkin
  • George Waft (elected)
2003 Scheduled

2003 Resignation of the Lord Bishop
2002 Death
2000 Scheduled
  • Edgar Mann (elected)
  • Dominic Delaney (elected)
  • David North
  • Norman Radcliffe (elected)
  • George Waft (elected)
2000 Resignation of the President of Tynwald
1998 Attorney General promoted to First Deemster
1998 Scheduled
1995 Scheduled
  • Arnold Callin
  • Edward Clifford Irving
  • Norman Radcliffe
  • George Waft
  • Edgar Mann (elected)
  • George Waft (elected)
  • Norman Radcliffe (elected)
  • Dominic Delaney (elected)

Other candidates not known

1994 Death
  • W K Quirk
  • George Waft (elected)

Other candidates not known

1993 Scheduled
  • Brian Barton - 15 votes, elected
  • Norman Butler - 7 votes
  • Clare Christian - 17 votes, elected
  • J A S Christian - 8 votes
  • Edmund Lowey - 14 votes, elected
  • Arthur Luft - 16 votes, elected
  • Charles Cain - 6 votes
  • R Rawcliffe - 5 votes
  • R B M Quayle - 8 votes
1990 Scheduled
  • Mr Callin
  • Mr Irving
  • Mr Quirk
  • Mr Radcliffe
  • Arnold Callin, elected
  • Norman Radcliffe, elected
  • W K Quirk, elected
  • Edward Clifford Irving, elected
  • David Moore
  • John Callister Clucas
  • Dominic Delaney
  • A C Duggan
1919 Constitutional reform

Past membership

Name Position Tenure Replacing
Robert Paterson Bishop of Sodor and Man 2008-16 Graeme Paul Knowles
Stephen Harding QC Attorney General 2011-13 John Corlett
Alan Crowe Elected Member
Elected Member
Brian Barton
Leonard Singer
Dudley Butt Elected Member 2005-15 Dominic Delaney
Alex Downie Elected Member 2005-15 Ray Kniveton
Phil Braidwood Elected Member 2010-15 George Waft
Tony Wild Elected Member 2011-17 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
Elected Member
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
President of the Legislative Council
Elected Member
Geoff Crellin
Jack Nivison
[new position - elected member 8]
Jack Nivison Elected Member
President of the Legislative Council
Alfred Teare
[new position]
Joseph Qualtrough Elected Member & Receiver General 1919–1933 New position
Joseph Cunningham Elected Member 1919–1924 New position
R C Cain Elected Member
& Receiver General (1934–1950)
1919–1924 Joseph Cunningham
John Robert Kerruish Elected Member 1919–1924 New position
William Southward Elected Member 1919–1943 New position
Geo Drinkwater Appointed Member 1919–1920 New position
Richard Barton Quirk Appointed Member 1919–1942 New position
Sir John Bolton Appointed Member
Elected Member
John Crellin
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 ?
Victor Kneale Elected Member 1974–1981 Hubert Radcliffe
Roy MacDonald Elected Member 1978–1985 Norman Crowe
Cecil McFee ? 1962–1971 ?
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 ?
George Moore First Deemster 1969–1974 ?
Sir Ralph Stevenson GCMG CP JP Appointed Member 1955–1970 ?
William Watson Christian ? 1848–1867 ?
Rev. William Christian ? 1883–1887 ?
William Quirk ? 1887–1893 ?
William Anderson Receiver General 1894–1909 John Cowell
John Cowell Receiver General 1909–1919 ?
John Goldie-Taubman Appointed Member 1921–1924 Geo 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 ?
Ewan Farrant Elected Member 1954–1964 ?
Hubert Radcliffe ? 1963–1974 ?

Historical composition


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

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:

  • Lieutenant Governor
  • First Deemster
  • Second Deemster
  • Attorney General
  • Receiver General
  • Water Bailiff
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Archdeacon of Sodor and Man
  • Vicar General of Sodor and Man

The above 1917 Act abolished the Clerk of the Rolls as a separate office-holder. The role was taken on by the First Deemster. There is no obvious evidence that a Water Bailiff was a member of the Council in the years leading up to or following 1917, and that office may have been abolished some time previously.

This document [2] suggests that by 1872 the office of Water Bailiff may have been combined with that of Receiver-General.

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:

  • Lieutenant Governor
  • First Deemster
  • Second Deemster
  • Attorney General
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Two members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor
  • Four members elected by the House of Keys

1961 reform

Replaced an appointed member by an elected member.

1965 reform

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

  • Lieutenant Governor
  • First Deemster
  • Attorney General
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Two members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor
  • Five members elected by the House of Keys

1969 reform

The Isle of Man Constitution Act 1969 removed the two appointed members of the LegCo. The members were thus:[3]

  • Lieutenant Governor
  • First Deemster
  • Attorney General
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Seven members elected by the House of Keys

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:

  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Attorney General
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Eight members elected by the House of Keys

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:

  • President of the Legislative Council
  • Attorney General
  • Bishop of Sodor and Man
  • Seven members elected by the House of Keys


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