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Gladstone Centenary Essays$
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David Bebbington and Roger Swift

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853239253

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313202

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Gladstone and Parliamentary Reform

Gladstone and Parliamentary Reform

(p.75) Gladstone and Parliamentary Reform
Gladstone Centenary Essays
Roland Quinault
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Gladstone's involvement in parliamentary reform. His involvement can be divided into two distinct phases: in the first phase, he was a Tory anti–reformer; and in the second phase, he was a Liberal reformer. Gladstone began his parliamentary career as a Tory opponent of the 1832 Reform Act, but he became a convert to moderate reform while he was still a Peelite Tory. When he introduced the 1866 Reform Bill, he still described himself as a ‘Liberal Conservative’. Subsequently, as the leader of the Liberal party and Prime Minister, he remained a cautious and pragmatic reformer. Thus, Gladstone's attitude to reform did not advance in a simple linear progression from a stance of Tory opposition to one of Liberal support.

Keywords:   parliament, reform, Peelite Toryism, Liberal party, Liberal Conservativism

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