First elected Liberal MP for Oxford in 1868, Harcourt later represented Derby and finally, West Monmouthshire. Harcourt started his ministerial career in 1873 when he was appointed Solicitor General. On the formation of Gladstone’s Second Ministry, Harcourt was promoted to Home Secretary and later served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1886 and 1892-5. Harcourt’s budget of 1894 introduced death duties on real and personal property. In 1896 Harcourt succeeded Lord Rosebery as leader of the Parliamentary Party but was not a success and he resigned in 1898.