'A Leap in the Dark', 1867. This cartoon depicts Britannia, mounted on a horse with Disraeli's face, shielding her eyes as the horse jumps into the unknown 'Reform'. Behind her, John Bright, Gladstone and Lord Derby can be seen pulling up short of the hazard. On 15th July 1867, Disraeli's Reform Bill received its third reading in the House. There was again opposition from the usual quarters, including the Liberal MP, Mr Robert Lowe, who had been instrumental in bringing down his own party on this issue. Gladstone did not speak in this debate, but he had nonetheless been active in transforming the original plans put forward by the Conservatives. The Reform Act gave household suffrage to boroughs, brought the county franchise down to £12, gave votes to lodgers and broadened the scope of the planned redistribution of seats. Disraeli himself described the Bill as 'A Leap in the Dark'. From Punch, or the London Charivari, August 3, 1867.
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