It’s very fitting that the formation of Earl Grey’s reforming government in 1830 should fit neatly into our series of Parliament Week articles. Aside from the blend of tea, Earl Grey is best known as the Prime Minister whose government passed the ‘Great’ Reform Act of 1832, which many historians see as the first step in Britain’s road to democracy. To read all about Grey’s ministry, read Dr Philip Salmon’s article here.
What I found most interesting when reading Dr Salmon’s article was the amount of popular support the bill had. People wrote about reform, petitioned government and began to treat Grey’s ministers as national heroes – as seen here on these commemorative jugs. I’m sure that today’s politicians would be very jealous of this sort of public support!
A different way of engaging with the political process than today’s tweeting and blogging perhaps, but this popular support helped to ensure the bill was passed into law. To find out how you can engage with our democratic process today, visit www.parliamentweek.org. You can also read more about the reform bill itself on our website.