The Irish Universities Bill fails on Second Reading in the House of Commons by three votes

The Bill would have expanded the University of Dublin into a larger secular body, bringing together a range of colleges, but it was fiercely opposed by the Roman Catholic Church. As a result of the vote Gladstone and his cabinet resigned but Disraeli’s refusal to take office meant that Gladstone’s government continued in office. This is the last time that an Opposition refused to take office when it was offered, however Disraeli’s gamble paid off and the Conservatives won a substantial majority at the general election the following year.