The Isle of Man isn’t actually part of the United Kingdom, but a self-governing British Crown dependency with Queen Elizabeth II, the Lord of Mann, as head of state. Foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government. The Conservative Party doesn’t have a presence on the Isle of Man, but we’ve included a section purely for its inquisitorial value.

The Tynwald, or more formally, the High Court of Tynwald is the legislature of the Isle of Man. It is claimed to be the oldest continuous parliamentary body in the world, consisting of two Houses: the directly elected House of Keys and the indirectly chosen Legislative Council.

The Houses sit jointly, on Tynwald Day at St John’s for largely ceremonial purposes, and usually once a month in the Legislative Buildings in Douglas. Otherwise, the two Houses sit separately, with the House of Keys originating most legislation, and the Legislative Council acting as a revising chamber.

The oldest known reference to the House of Keys 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”). The name is thought to come from a mishearing of the Manx-language term for “four and twenty”, kiare as feed (pronounced kee-air…), the House having always had 24 members. The Manx-language name of the House of Keys remains Y Chiare as Feed (“The Four and Twenty”).

The House is elected using First Past the Post, with some multi-member constituencies. Voters have the same number of votes each as there are seats available in their constituency.

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