Chief Minister Howard Quayle announced earlier this week that he will not be standing again in September’s general election.

But who will succeed him as head of the government?

Mr Quayle will continue as Chief Minister until the new House of Keys elects his successor which is likely to take place in the first week in October.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan put his name forward for the biggest role in Manx politics in 2016, securing nine votes to Howard Quayle’s 21 - and seems certain to put his name forward again if he is re-elected to Ayre and Michael.

But he declined to comment about his plans.

He said: ’Whilst I totally accept that there is a growing interest in the September 2021 election, there is still significant work to complete relating to economic stability and recovery post-Covid.

’It is probably best that this work is undertaken without other distractions at this moment in time.’

Current Education Minister Dr Alex Allinson has confirmed he will put his hat into the ring if he wins back his Ramsey seat in September.

He told the Manx Independent: ’A day is a long time in politics at the moment and I genuinely try not to take anything for granted.

’The people of Ramsey put their trust in me five years ago. Whilst I have achieved some of my aims there is still a lot left to do and some of the inequalities in our society amplified by Covid must now be addressed.

’I hope I am successful in being re-elected but that is up to my constituents to decide.

’I have always been keen to seize opportunities when they arise and do the best job for the island that I can.

’If I get the chance to stand for Chief Minister and have the backing of the people of Ramsey and other MHKs I will do so.’

Health Minister David Ashford is another possibility.

His profile has been higher than any previous health minister thanks to his regular appearances at the Covid press-briefings.

He has been widely praised for his role in the government’s response to the pandemic and was awarded with an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours last year for services to the Isle of Man during the health crisis.

Mr Ashford said: ’I haven’t decided if I’m standing yet - to be honest I’ve not had the opportunity to even think about it. But if I did I doubt I would be a candidate for CM I would imagine there are other candidates for that role.’

A fourth candidate could be opposition MHK Lawrie Hooper, leader of Liberal Vannin and currently the party’s only representative in the House of Keys.

He nominated Kate Beecroft, then LibVan party leader, during the election for chief minister in 2016.

She however picked up just three votes, the third vote coming from her seconder Julie Edge, who, however, quit Beecroft’s party in 2017.

If, and it’s a big if, LibVan do well at the polls in September, Mr Hooper could be in the running.

But he dismissed the idea on social media: ‘For the record - I do not intend to enter the running to become the next Chief Minister.

‘Liberal Vannin will be fielding a number of candidates in September who all look forward to electing and working with a progressive Chief Minister and Council of Ministers.’