Lord John Russell becomes Prime Minister

Russell’s Whig government took over as the Conservative party broke up after repealing the Corn Laws. Lord Palmerston became Foreign Secretary and Sir Charles Wood Chancellor of the Exchequer. Other leading lights of the government included Sir George Grey (Home Secretary) and the Earl of Clarendon (President of the Board of Trade). The Russell government repealed the Navigation Acts in 1849 reinforcing Britain’s free trade policy.