Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), Home Secretary (1822-1827; 1828-1830), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834-1835; 1841-1846), Chancellor of the Exchequer (1834-1835), Leader of the House of Commons (1828-1830; 1834-1835; 1841-1846)
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet (5 February 1788 – 2 July 1850) was a British statesman of the Conservative Party who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834–35 and 1841–46) and twice as Home Secretary (1822–27 and 1828–30). He is regarded as the father of modern British policing and as one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party. The son of wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, making Robert the first future prime minister from an industrial business background, he was educated at Bury Grammar School, Hipperholme Grammar School and Harrow School, subsequently earning a double first in classics and mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford. He entered the House of Commons in 1809 under the tutelage of his father and of Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. Peel was widely seen as a "rising star" in the Conservative Party. Peel entered the Cabinet for the first time as Home Secretary (1822–1827), where he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as "bobbies" and "peelers". After the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Jenkinson, the Earl of Liverpool, Peel resigned as Home Secretary, but after a brief period out of office he returned as Home Secretary under his political mentor the Duke of Wellington (1828–1830), also serving as Leader of the House of Commons. In 1830 the Whigs finally returned to power and Peel became a member of the Opposition for the first time. After successive election defeats, leadership of the Conservative Party gradually passed from Wellington to Peel, and when King William IV asked Wellington to become Prime Minister in November 1834, he declined and Peel was selected instead, with Wellington serving as caretaker until Peel took office. Peel then issued the Tamworth Manifesto (December 1834), laying down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based. His first ministry was a minority government, dependent on Whig support and with Peel serving as his own Chancellor of the Exchequer. After only four months, his government collapsed and he served as Leader of the Opposition during the second government of the Viscount Melbourne (1835–1841). Peel declined to head another minority government in May 1839, prompting the Bedchamber crisis. He finally became Prime Minister again after the 1841 general election. His second government ruled for five years – its major legislation included the Mines and Collieries Act 1842, the Income Tax Act 1842, the Factories Act 1844 and the Railway Regulation Act 1844. Peel's government was weakened by anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment following the controversial Maynooth Grant of 1845. After the outbreak of the Great Irish Potato Famine, his decision to join with Whigs and Radicals to repeal the Corn Laws led to his resignation as Prime Minister in 1846. Peel remained an influential backbench MP and leader of the Peelite faction until his death in 1850.
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