Chiefly remembered for the 1832 Reform Act and the tea that bears his name, Grey was a leading figure in the Whig Party for over 40 years. Before succeeding to the earldom he sat in the House of Commons as Whig MP for Northumberland 1786-1807, Appleby 1807 and Tavistock 1807. He joined Lord Grenville’s ‘Ministry of all the Talents’ as First Lord of the Admiralty and succeeded Charles James Fox as Foreign Secretary in 1806. Out of office he held the Whigs together during the long period of opposition from 1809 to 1830. As Prime Minister, Grey led a talented government which, apart from the First Reform Act, abolished slavery in the British Empire, limited the working hours of children, ushered in factory inspection and reformed local government in Scotland. After he resigned in July 1834, Grey retired to his estates in Northumberland, refusing all attempts to lure him back into public life.