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The Speaker of the House of Keys

The Speaker is the Presiding Officer of the House of Keys. The main role of the Speaker is chairing sittings of the House of Keys. 

Along with the President, the Speaker signs all resolutions of Tynwald, certificates of Royal Assent for the Acts, and certificates of promulgation of the acts on Tynwald Day. 

The current Speaker is the Hon Juan Paul Watterson BA FCA CMgr FCMI SHK.

Election of the Speaker

The Speaker is elected by and from amongst the Members of the House of Keys at its first sitting after a General Election. This is the House of Keys' first task after an election.

Candidates are proposed and seconded by Members. If more than one Member is nominated, there is a vote by ballot. The candidate with the most votes is elected.

The Speaker's first duty on being elected is to call on Members to receive a copy of the Standing Orders of the House of Keys and sign the Standing Orders Book. 

 Find out more about the election of the Speaker.

Chairing sittings of the House of Keys

​The Speaker chairs sittings of the House of Keys. This means that the Speaker is responsible for ensuring that business is conducted in an orderly and unbiased manner. 

In order to do this, the Speaker interprets the rules and conventions of the House of Keys. Many of these rules are described in the Standing Orders of the House of Keys, the Speaker's interpretation of which is authoritative, but some of them are unwritten. The Speaker is assisted in this task by the Secretary of the House of Keys. 

The Speaker's role is to be impartial. He is the only Member who has the option of abstaining from a vote, which is usually exercised.  The Speaker has a casting vote in the event of a tie.

 Find out more about the Standing Orders of the House of Keys.

Chairing Standing Committees

The Speaker is the ex officio Chair of a number of Standing Committees.

 Find out more about Standing Committees. 

Role in Tynwald Court

In Tynwald Court, the Speaker is free to speak and vote in the same way as any other Member of the House of Keys. In Tynwald Court, the President of Tynwald is the Presiding Officer.
 
The Speaker sits in the same position at the head of the Keys in Tynwald Court, but his role in the Court is limited to reading out the Keys results after a division.

 See a seating plan of Tynwald Court.      Find out more about voting in Tynwald Court.

The Speaker's Robes

The Speaker's robes were gifted to the House of Keys by the House of Commons in 1966 on the 100th anniversary of the House of Keys Election Act. They are made of black silk with golden embroidery and detailing, similar to the Speaker of the House of Commons' state gown.
 
These robes are usually only worn for official occasions such as Tynwald Day.  During normal sittings, the Speaker may wear what he or she chooses, by tradition a plain black gown and a barrister's wig. 

 Find out more about the Speaker's Robes (Culture Vannin).​

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