William Ewart Gladstone introduces the motion for the Third Reform Act

The Representation of the People Bill extended the franchise granted to borough constituencies in the 1867 Act to the counties and created a £10 occupation franchise which mainly applied to people who occupied shops and offices, virtually doubling the electorate. For Gladstone it was a personal commitment to those people who had supported his Midlothian campaign and a belief, as he told the House of Commons, that nations are stronger, ‘where every capable citizen was enfranchised and had a direct and energetic interest in the well-being and the unity of the state.’ The bill easily passed the House of Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords, leading to demonstrations in favour of the bill and calls for reform of the Lords. Gladstone eventually compromised with the Conservative leadership in the Lords who agreed to pass the bill in return for seat distribution which reduced the number of MPs in the South of England in favour of London and Scotland and saw most constituencies change from two members to single member constituencies.