Isle of Man public call for bishop’s removal from Tynwald

21 March, 2024

In a recent consultation on the Isle of Man to remove the Bishop of Sodor and Man from Tynwald, the Manx parliament, the public has called for the removal of the bishop’s right to vote.

The consultation released earlier this year, had one of the largest response rates on the Isle of Man with nearly 3000 replies. The initial results of the consultation show a narrow victory for progressive reform with 51% of respondents supporting the removal of the bishop’s vote from Tynwald. Lawrie Hooper MHK, who proposed the initial bill, which led to this consultation, has said support for the removal of the bishop’s vote may even be higher than the consultation suggests.

He said the consultation faced a significant and coordinated effort from supporters of the bishop’s vote, ‘As nearly 50% of the paper submissions were delivered by 5 people, all of which expressed the same view.’ He also notes that the initial release of data included all responses, and that his further analysis, which he has presented to the House of Keys, which involves removing duplicate results or responses with IP addresses from outside the Isle of Man, only shows increasing support for the removal of the bishop’s vote.

The call for the removal of the Bishop from Tynwald reflects a desire for a separation of church and state, ensuring that decisions made within the parliament are representative of the diverse beliefs and values held by the people of the Isle of Man. The consultation also asked if prayers should be removed before Tynwald sittings, in which 52% of respondents agreed, again showing a desire for inclusive change. 

The situation in the Isle of Man reflects the outdated nature of the UK Parliament. Currently 26 bishops of the Church of England are reserved seats in the House of Lords. Out of national, sovereign states, only the UK and Iran have reserved seats in their legislature for members of the state religion. Last year, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group Tommy Sheppard MP led a debate in the Commons on the role of bishops in the Lords making a convincing case for their removal. 

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Kathy Riddick said:

‘We commend the people of the Isle of Man for their engagement in the consultation process and their commitment to shaping a more inclusive and democratic society. Humanists UK calls upon the Tynwald to heed the results of the consultation and take necessary steps to address the concerns raised by the public. The Isle of Man can pave the way for a government where all individuals are valued and respected, regardless of their religion or belief.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Kathy Riddick at or phone 07534 248 596.

Read more about our work on bishops in the House of Lords.

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