Strategies & 'Fancy Franchises'
Extract from draft Parliamentary Representation Bill, 1859
Dep. Hughenden 43/3, fols. 132v-3r
In March 1859 Disraeli introduced a Second Reform Bill to extend the franchise, fulfilling a pledge made by Lord Derby at the opening of the 1859 session.
Both the Conservatives and the future Liberal Governments (as they became known) responded to popular pressure for reform between 1852 and 1867, determined to gain electorally. The issue was internally divisive. An unenthusiastic Cabinet (two ministers resigned) agreed to extend the £10 householder franchise from the boroughs to the counties, added a new £20 lodger catagory in both and a number 'fancy franchises'. The Conservatives would have benefited from a proposed redistribution of seats. These pages from the draft bill list some of the 'fancy franchises' - as the Radical John Bright (1811-89) termed them - which Disraeli is believed to have devised. The Bill was too partisan, and its defeat by the Liberals and Radicals brought down the Government.
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