Robert Peel

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, FRS (5 February 1788 – 2 July 1850) was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician 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, owing to his founding of the Metropolitian Police Service. Peel was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party.

The son of a wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician, Peel was the first prime minister from an industrial business background. He earned a double first in classics and mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford. He entered the House of Commons in 1809, where he became a rising star in the Tory Party. Peel entered the Cabinet 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 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. Initially a supporter of continued legal discrimination against Catholics, Peel reversed himself and supported the repeal of the Test Act (1828) and the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, claiming that "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger".[1]

After being in the Opposition 1830-34, he became Prime Minister in November 1834. Peel 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 Melbourne's second government (1835–1841). Peel became Prime Minister again after the 1841 general election. His second government ruled for five years. He cut tariffs to stimulate trade, replacing the lost revenue with a 3% income tax. He played a central role in making free trade a reality and set up a modern banking system. His government's 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-Catholic sentiment following the controversial increase in the Maynooth Grant of 1845. After the outbreak of the Great Irish 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 MP and leader of the Peelite faction until his death in 1850.

Peel often started from a traditional Tory position in opposition to a measure, then reversed his stance and became the leader in supporting liberal legislation. This happened with the Test Act, Catholic Emancipation, the Reform Act, income tax and, most notably, the repeal of the Corn Laws. Historian A.J.P. Taylor says: "Peel was in the first rank of 19th century statesmen. He carried Catholic Emancipation; he repealed the Corn Laws; he created the modern Conservative Party on the ruins of the old Toryism."[2]

Sir Robert Peel

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt by Henry William Pickersgill-detail
Detail of a portrait painting
by Henry William Pickersgill
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
30 August 1841 – 29 June 1846
Preceded byThe Viscount Melbourne
Succeeded byLord John Russell
In office
10 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
MonarchWilliam IV
Preceded byThe Duke of Wellington
Succeeded byThe Viscount Melbourne
Leader of the Opposition
In office
18 April 1835 – 30 August 1841
MonarchWilliam IV
Preceded byThe Viscount Melbourne
Succeeded byThe Viscount Melbourne
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
15 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byThe Lord Denman
Succeeded byThomas Spring Rice
Home Secretary
In office
26 January 1828 – 22 November 1830
Prime MinisterThe Duke of Wellington
Preceded byThe Marquess of Lansdowne
Succeeded byThe Viscount Melbourne
In office
17 January 1822 – 10 April 1827
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Liverpool
Preceded byThe Viscount Sidmouth
Succeeded byWilliam Sturges Bourne
Chief Secretary for Ireland
In office
August 1812 – August 1818
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Liverpool
Preceded byThe Earl of Mornington
Succeeded byCharles Grant
Member of the British Parliament
for Tamworth
In office
2 September 1830 – 2 July 1850
Serving with Charles Townshend, William Yates Peel, Edward Henry A'Court, John Townshend
Preceded byWilliam Yates Peel
Succeeded byRobert Peel Jr.
Member of the British Parliament
for Oxford University
In office
June 1817 – 1 September 1830
Preceded byCharles Abbot
Succeeded byThomas Grimston Estcourt
Member of the British Parliament
for Chippenham
In office
26 October 1812 – June 1817
Serving with Charles Brooke
Preceded byJohn Maitland
Succeeded byJohn Maitland
Member of the British Parliament
for Cashel
In office
15 April 1809 – 26 October 1812
Preceded byQuinton Dick
Succeeded bySir Charles Saxton
Personal details
Born5 February 1788
Bury, Lancashire, England
Died2 July 1850 (aged 62)
Westminster, Middlesex, England
Resting placeSt Peter Churchyard, Drayton Bassett
Political partyTory (1809–1834)
Conservative (1834–1846)
Peelite (1846–1850)
Julia Floyd (m. 1820)
ParentsSir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet
Ellen Yates
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Robert Peel's signature
Military service
UnitStaffordshire Yeomanry

Early life

Peel was born at Chamber Hall, Bury, Lancashire, to the industrialist and parliamentarian Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, and his wife Ellen Yates. His father was one of the richest textile manufacturers of the early Industrial Revolution.[3] Peel was educated briefly at Bury Grammar School, at Hipperholme Grammar School, then at Harrow School and finally Christ Church, Oxford, where he became the first person to take a double first in Classics and Mathematics.[4] He was a law student at Lincoln's Inn in 1809 before entering Parliament.[5]

Hipperholme Grammar School
Peel was educated briefly at Hipperholme Grammar School (pictured)

Peel saw part-time military service as a captain in the Manchester Regiment of Militia in 1808, and later as lieutenant in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820.[5]

Peel entered politics in 1809 at the age of 21, as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary.[6] With a scant 24 electors on the rolls, he was elected unopposed. His sponsor for the election (besides his father) was the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, with whom Peel's political career would be entwined for the next 25 years. Peel made his maiden speech at the start of the 1810 session, when he was chosen by Prime Minister Spencer Perceval to second the reply to the king's speech.[7] His speech was a sensation, famously described by the Speaker, Charles Abbot, as "the best first speech since that of William Pitt."[8]

As chief secretary in Dublin in 1813, he proposed the setting up of a specialist police force, later called "peelers".[9] In 1814, the Royal Irish Constabulary was founded under Peel.

For the next decade, he occupied a series of relatively minor positions in the Tory governments: Undersecretary for War, Chief Secretary for Ireland, and chairman of the Bullion Committee (charged with stabilising British finances after the end of the Napoleonic Wars).[10] He also changed constituency twice, first picking up another constituency, Chippenham, then becoming MP for Oxford University in 1817.[11]

He later became an MP for Tamworth from 1830 until his death. His home of Drayton Manor has since been demolished.[12]

Home Secretary

The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel 1844
The Duke of Wellington, Prime Minister 1828–1830, with Peel

Peel was considered one of the rising stars of the Tory party, first entering the cabinet in 1822 as Home Secretary.[13] As Home Secretary, he introduced a number of important reforms of British criminal law.[14] He reduced the number of crimes punishable by death, and simplified it by repealing a large number of criminal statutes and consolidating their provisions into what are known as Peel's Acts. He reformed the gaol system, introducing payment for gaolers and education for the inmates.[15]

He resigned as home secretary after the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool became incapacitated and was replaced by George Canning.[16]

He helped in the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in May 1828. They required many officials to be communicants in the Anglican Church and penalised both nonconformists and Catholics. They were no longer enforced but were a matter of humiliation. Peel at first opposed the repeal but reversed himself and led the repeal, after consultation with Anglican Church leaders. In future religious issues he made it a point to consult with church leaders from the major denominations.[17]

Canning favoured Catholic Emancipation, while Peel had been one of its most outspoken opponents (earning the nickname "Orange Peel", with Orange the colour of the anti-Catholic Irish Unionists).[18] George Canning himself died less than four months later and, after the brief premiership of Lord Goderich, Peel returned to the post of Home Secretary under the premiership of his long-time ally the Duke of Wellington.[19] During this time he was widely perceived as the number-two in the Tory Party, after Wellington himself.[20]

However, the pressure on the new ministry from advocates of Catholic Emancipation was too great and an Emancipation Bill was passed the next year. The government threatened to resign if the king opposed the bill; he finally relented. Peel reversed himself and took charge of passing Catholic Emancipation. However his action caused many Tories to have doubts about his sincerity; they never fully trusted him again.[21][22]

Peel felt compelled to stand for re-election of his seat in Oxford, as he was representing the graduates of Oxford University (many of whom were Anglican clergymen), and had previously stood on a platform of opposition to Catholic Emancipation.[23] Peel lost his seat, but soon found another, moving to a rotten borough, Westbury, retaining his Cabinet position.[24]

Burking Poor Old Mrs Constitution. Wellcome L0019663
This satirical 1829 cartoon by William Heath depicted the Duke of Wellington and Peel in the roles of the body-snatchers Burke and Hare suffocating Mrs Docherty for sale to Dr. Knox; representing the extinguishing by Wellington and Peel of the 141-year-old Constitution of 1688 by Catholic Emancipation.

Police reform

It was in 1829 that Peel established the Metropolitan Police Force for London based at Scotland Yard.[25] The 1,000 constables employed were affectionately nicknamed 'bobbies' or, somewhat less affectionately, 'peelers'. Although unpopular at first, they proved very successful in cutting crime in London, and by 1857 all cities in Britain were obliged to form their own police forces.[26] Known as the father of modern policing, Peel developed the Peelian Principles which defined the ethical requirements police officers must follow to be effective. In 1829, when setting forth the principles of policing a democracy, Sir Robert Peel declared: "The police are the public and the public are the police."[27]

Whigs in power (1830–1834)

The middle and working classes in England at that time, however, were clamouring for reform, and Catholic Emancipation was only one of the ideas in the air.[28] The Tory ministry refused to bend on other issues and were swept out of office in 1830 in favour of the Whigs.[29] The following few years were extremely turbulent, but eventually enough reforms were passed that King William IV felt confident enough to invite the Tories to form a ministry again in succession to those of Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne in 1834.[30] Peel was selected as prime minister but was in Italy at the time, so Wellington acted as a caretaker for three weeks until Peel's return.[31]

First term as prime minister (1834–1835)

The Tory Ministry was a minority government and depended on Whig goodwill for its continued existence. Parliament was dissolved in December 1834 and a general election called. Voting took place in January and February 1835 and Peel's supporters gained around 100 seats, but this was not enough to give them a majority.[32]

As his statement of policy at the general election of January 1835, Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto.[33] This document was the basis on which the modern Conservative Party was founded. In it Peel pledged that the Conservatives would endorse modest reform.[34]

The Whigs formed a compact with Daniel O'Connell's Irish Radical members to repeatedly defeat the government on various bills.[35] Eventually, after only about 100 days in government, Peel's ministry resigned out of frustration and the Whigs under Lord Melbourne returned to power.[36] The only real achievement of Peel's first administration was a commission to review the governance of the Church of England. This ecclesiastical commission was the forerunner of the Church Commissioners.[37]

Leader of the Opposition (1835–1841)

In May 1839 he was offered another chance to form a government, this time by the new monarch, Queen Victoria.[38] However, this too would have been a minority government, and Peel felt he needed a further sign of confidence from his Queen. Lord Melbourne had been Victoria's confidant since her accession in 1837, and many of the higher posts in Victoria's household were held by the wives and female relatives of Whigs;[39] there was some feeling that Victoria had allowed herself to be too closely associated with the Whig party. Peel therefore asked that some of this entourage be dismissed and replaced with their Conservative counterparts, provoking the so-called Bedchamber Crisis.[40] Victoria refused to change her household, and despite pleadings from the Duke of Wellington, relied on assurances of support from Whig leaders. Peel refused to form a government, and the Whigs returned to power.[41]

Second term as prime minister (1841–1846)

Second Peel Ministry 1844 engraving
Engraving showing the members of Sir Robert Peel's government in 1844

Economic and financial reforms

Peel came to office during an economic recession which had seen a slump in world trade and a budget deficit of £7.5 million run up by the Whigs. Confidence in banks and businesses was low, and a trade deficit existed.

To raise revenue Peel's 1842 budget saw the re-introduction of the income tax,[42] removed previously at the end of the Napoleonic War. The rate was 7d in the pound, or just under 3 per cent. The money raised was more than expected and allowed for the removal and reduction of over 1,200 tariffs on imports including the controversial sugar duties.[43] It was also in the 1842 budget that the repeal of the corn laws was first proposed.[44] It was defeated in a Commons vote by a margin of 4:1.

Factory Act

Peel finally had a chance to head a majority government following the election of July 1841.[45] His promise of modest reform was held to, and the second most famous bill of this ministry, while "reforming" in 21st-century eyes, was in fact aimed at the reformers themselves, with their constituency among the new industrial rich. The Factory Act 1844 acted more against these industrialists than it did against the traditional stronghold of the Conservatives, the landed gentry, by restricting the number of hours that children and women could work in a factory and setting rudimentary safety standards for machinery.[46] This was a continuation of his own father's work as an MP, as the elder Robert Peel was most noted for reform of working conditions during the first part of the 19th century. Helping him was Lord Shaftesbury, a British MP who also established the coal mines act.

Assassination attempt

In 1843 Peel was the target of a failed assassination attempt; a criminally-insane Scottish wood turner named Daniel M'Naghten stalked him for several days before killing Peel's personal secretary Edward Drummond thinking he was Peel[47] which led to the formation of the criminal defense of insanity.[48]

Corn Laws and after

The most notable act of Peel's second ministry, however, was the one that would bring it down.[49] Peel moved against the landholders by repealing the Corn Laws, which supported agricultural revenues by restricting grain imports.[50] This radical break with Conservative protectionism was triggered by the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849).[51] Tory agriculturalists were sceptical of the extent of the problem,[52] and Peel reacted slowly to the famine, famously stating in October 1846 (already in opposition): "There is such a tendency to exaggeration and inaccuracy in Irish reports that delay in acting on them is always desirable".

His own party failed to support the bill, but it passed with Whig and Radical support. On the third reading of Peel's Bill of Repeal (Importation Act 1846) on 15 May, MPs voted 327 votes to 229 (a majority of 98) to repeal the Corn Laws. On 25 June the Duke of Wellington persuaded the House of Lords to pass it. On that same night Peel's Irish Coercion Bill was defeated in the Commons by 292 to 219 by "a combination of Whigs, Radicals, and Tory protectionists".[53] Following this, on 29 June 1846, Peel resigned as prime minister.[54]

Though he knew repealing the laws would mean the end of his ministry, Peel decided to do so.[55] It is possible that Peel merely used the Irish Famine as an excuse to repeal the Corn Laws as he had been an intellectual convert to free trade since the 1820s. Blake points out that if Peel were convinced that total repeal was necessary to stave off the famine, he would have enacted a bill that brought about immediate temporary repeal, not permanent repeal over a three-year period of gradual tapering-off of duties.

The historian Boyd Hilton argues Peel knew from 1844 he was going to be deposed as the Conservative leader. Many of his MPs had taken to voting against him, and the rupture within the party between liberals and paternalists which had been so damaging in the 1820s, but masked by the issue of parliamentary reform in the 1830s, was brought to the surface over the Corn Laws. Hilton's hypothesis is that Peel wished to actually be deposed on a liberal issue so that he might later lead a Peelite/Whig/Liberal alliance.

As an aside in reference to the repeal of the Corn Laws, Peel did make some moves to subsidise the purchase of food for the Irish, but this attempt was small and had little tangible effect. In the age of laissez-faire,[56] government taxes were small, and subsidies or direct economic interference were almost nonexistent. That subsidies were actually given was very much out of character for the political times; Peel's successor, Lord John Russell, received more criticism than Peel on Irish policy. The repeal of the Corn Laws was more political than humanitarian.[57] Peel's support for free trade could already be seen in his 1842 and 1845 budgets;[58] in late 1842 Graham wrote to Peel that "the next change in the Corn Laws must be to an open trade" while arguing that the government should not tackle the issue.[59] Speaking to the cabinet in 1844, Peel argued that the choice was maintenance of the 1842 Corn Law or total repeal.[60] Despite all of Peel's efforts, his reform programs had little effect on the situation in Ireland.[61]

Later career and death

Peel did retain a hard core of supporters however, known as Peelites,[62] and at one point in 1849 was actively courted by the Whig/Radical coalition. He continued to stand on his conservative principles, however, and refused. Nevertheless, he was influential on several important issues, including the furtherance of British free trade with the repeal of the Navigation Acts.[63] Peel was a member of the committee which controlled the House of Commons Library, and on 16 April 1850 was responsible for passing the motion that controlled its scope and collection policy for the rest of the century.

Peel was thrown from his horse while riding on Constitution Hill in London on 29 June 1850. The horse stumbled on top of him, and he died three days later on 2 July at the age of 62 due to a clavicular fracture rupturing his subclavian vessels.[64]

His Peelite followers, led by Lord Aberdeen and William Gladstone, went on to fuse with the Whigs as the Liberal Party.[65]


Julia, Lady Peel - Lawrence 1827
Thomas Lawrence's portrait of his patron Julia, Lady Peel (1827), now in the Frick Collection.[66]

Peel married Julia Floyd (daughter of General Sir John Floyd, 1st Baronet) on 8 June 1820. They had seven children:[67]

  • Julia Peel (30 April 1821 – 14 August 1893) she married George Child Villiers, 6th Earl of Jersey, on 12 July 1841. They had five children. She remarried to Charles Brandling on 12 September 1865.
  • Sir Robert Peel, 3rd Baronet (4 May 1822 – 9 May 1895). He married Lady Emily Hay on 17 June 1856. They had five children.
  • Sir Frederick Peel (26 October 1823 – 6 June 1906). He married Elizabeth Shelley (died 30 July 1865, niece of Percy Shelley through his brother John) on 12 August 1857. He remarried to Janet Pleydell-Bouverie on 3 September 1879.
  • Sir William Peel (2 November 1824 – 27 April 1858)
  • John Floyd Peel (24 May 1827 – 21 April 1910). He married Annie Jenny in 1851.
  • Arthur Wellesley Peel (3 August 1829 – 24 October 1912). He married Adelaide Dugdale, daughter of William Stratford Dugdale and Harriet Ella Portman, on 14 August 1862. They had seven children.
  • Eliza Peel (c. 1832 – April 1883). She married Hon. Francis Stonor (son of Thomas Stonor, 3rd Baron Camoys) on 25 September 1855. They had four children.

Julia, Lady Peel, died in 1859. Some of her direct descendants now reside in South Africa, the Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, and in various parts of the United States and Canada.

Memory and legacy

Robert Peel Portrait
Portrait of Peel

In his lifetime many critics called him a traitor to the Tory cause, or as "a Liberal wolf in sheep's clothing", because his final position reflected liberal ideas.[68]

The consensus view of scholars for much of the 20th century idealised Peel in heroic terms. Historian Boyd Hilton says it portrayed him as:

The great Conservative patriot: a pragmatic gradualist, as superb in his grasp of fundamental issues as he was adroit in handling administrative detail, intelligent enough to see through abstract theories, a conciliator who put nation before party and established consensus politics.[69]

Biographer Norman Gash said, Peel "looked first, not to party, but to the state; not to programmes, but to national expediency." [70] Gash added that among his personal qualities were, "administrative skill, capacity for work, personal integrity, high standards, a sense of duty [and] an outstanding intellect."[71]

Gash has emphasised the role of personality on Peel's political career:

Peel was endowed with great intelligence and integrity, and an immense capacity for hard work. A proud, stubborn, and quick-tempered man he had a passion for creative achievement; and the latter part of his life was dominated by his deep concern for the social condition of the country. Though his great debating and administrative talents secured him an outstanding position in Parliament, his abnormal sensitivity and coldness of manner debarred him from popularity among his political followers, except for the small circle of his intimate friends. As an administrator he was one of the greatest public servants in British history; in politics he was a principal architect of the modern conservative tradition. By insisting on changes unpalatable to many of his party, he helped to preserve the flexibility of the parliamentary system and the survival of aristocratic influence. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 won him immense prestige in the country, and his death in 1850 caused a national demonstration of sorrow unprecedented since the death of William Pitt in 1806.[72]

Peel was the first serving British Prime Minister to have his photograph taken.[73] Peel is also featured on the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.



Statues of Sir Robert Peel are found in the following British and Australian locations.

Robert Peel statue, Bury

Statue by Edward Hodges Baily in Bury

Robert Peel statue

Statue in Parliament Square, London

Statue of Sir Robert Peel, Piccadilly Gardens - - 1278311

Statue in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

Peel Statue Leeds

Statue in Woodhouse Moor, Leeds

Robert Peel statue, Glasgow

Statue in George Square, Glasgow

Sir Robert Peel, Gawsworth, East Cheshire

Statue near Gawsworth Old Hall

Statue of Robert Peel in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Statue in Edgbaston, Birmingham

Public houses / hotels

The following public houses, bars or hotels are named after Peel:[75]

United Kingdom

  • Robert Peel public house[76] in Bury town centre, his birthplace
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Tamworth[77]
  • Peel Hotel, Tamworth[78]
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire
  • Sir Robert Peel public house Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire
  • Sir Robert Peel public house,[79] Leicester
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Malden Road, London NW5
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Peel Precinct, Kilburn, London NW6
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, London SE17
  • Sir Robert Peel Hotel, Preston
  • Sir Robert Peel public house Rowley Regis
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Southsea
  • Sir Robert Peel public house,[80] Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sir Robert Peel public house Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
  • Sir Robert Peel public house, Bloxwich, Walsall[81]


Other memorials

See also


  1. ^ Dictionary of National Biography vol 15. 1909. p. 658.
  2. ^ A.J.P. Taylor, Politicians, Socialism and Historians (1980) p. 75
  3. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 2–11.
  4. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 11–12.
  5. ^ a b [1]
  6. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 1; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 13; 376.
  7. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 18.
  8. ^ Gash, Mr. Secretary Peel, 59–61, 68–69.
  9. ^ OED entry at peeler (3)
  10. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 6–12; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 18–65, 376.
  11. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 12, 18, 35.
  12. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 490; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 4, 119.
  13. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 3, 9, 13; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 66, 68; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 65.
  14. ^ Gash, 1:477–88.
  15. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 68–71; 122; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 104.
  16. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 4, 96–97; Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 26–28.
  17. ^ Gash, 1:460–65; Richard A. Gaunt, "Peel's Other Repeal: The Test and Corporation Acts, 1828," Parliamentary History (2014) 33#1 pp. 243–62.
  18. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 21–48, 91–100.
  19. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 28–30; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 103–04; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 18.
  20. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 104.
  21. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 37–39; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 114–21.
  22. ^ Gash, 1:545–98
  23. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 35–40; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 46–47, 110, 376.
  24. ^ Gash, 1:564–65
  25. ^ Gash, 1:488-98.
  26. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 87–90.
  27. ^ Couper, David C. (13 May 2015). "A Police Chief's Call for Reform". Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  28. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 123–40.
  29. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 45–50; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 136–41.
  30. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 51–62, 64–90, 129–43, 146–77, 193–201; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 179; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 66.
  31. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 196–97, 199; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 66–67.
  32. ^ The Routledge Dictionary of Modern British History, John Plowright, Routledge, Abingdon, 2006. p235
  33. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 210–15; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 184; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 12; 69–72.
  34. ^ Norman Lowe (2017). Mastering Modern British History. Macmillan Education UK. p. 59. ISBN 9781137603883.
  35. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 227; 229–35; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 185–87; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 71–73.
  36. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 250–54, 257–61; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 188–92; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 74–76.
  37. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 224–26.
  38. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 417–18; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 206.
  39. ^ Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 416–17; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 206–07.
  40. ^ Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 207–208; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 89.
  41. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 23; Clark, Peel and the Conservatives: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841, 419–26; 448; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 208–09; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 89–91.
  42. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 35–36; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 227; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 112.
  43. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 37; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 235; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 113–14.
  44. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 35–36; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 112–13.
  45. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 24.
  46. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 40–42; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 302–05; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 125; 129.
  47. ^ Read, Peel and the Victorians, 121–22.
  48. ^ "Old Bailey Online – The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674–1913 – Central Criminal Court". Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  49. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 113–15.
  50. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, vi.
  51. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 66; Ramsay; Sir Robert Peel, 332–33.
  52. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 72.
  53. ^ Schonhardt-Bailey, p. 239.
  54. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 68–69, 70, 72; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 347; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 230–31.
  55. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 67–69.
  56. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 70.
  57. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 69–71.
  58. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, pp. 35–37, 59.
  59. ^ Quoted in Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 362.
  60. ^ Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 429.
  61. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, pp. 48–49.
  62. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 78–80; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 353–55.
  63. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 78; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 377; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 257.
  64. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 80; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 361–63; Read, Peel and the Victorians, 1; 266–70.
  65. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 86–87; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 364.
  66. ^ "Thomas Sir Lawrence – Julia, Lady Peel : The Frick Collection". Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  67. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. 1 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 659.
  68. ^ Richard A. Gaunt (2010). Sir Robert Peel: The Life and Legacy. I.B.Tauris. p. 3. ISBN 9780857716842.
  69. ^ Boyd Hilton, "Peel: A Reappraisal," Historical Journal 22#3 (1979) pp. 585–614 quote p 587
  70. ^ Gash, vol 1, pp 13–14.
  71. ^ Gash, vol 2, pg 712.
  72. ^ Norman Gash, "Peel, Sir Robert" Collier Encyclopedia (1996) v 15 p 528.
  73. ^ Adelman, Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850, 86–87; Ramsay, 365.
  74. ^ "Sir Robert Peel Statue Bury". Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  75. ^ The UK-based Peel Hotels group are named after their founders Robert and Charles Peel, not Sir Robert Peel
  76. ^ New Pubs Opening All The Time (30 April 1997). "The Robert Peel, Bury | Our Pubs". J D Wetherspoon. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  77. ^ "The Sir Robert Peel / Public House". Facebook.
  78. ^ "Peel Hotel Aldergate Tamworth: Hotels – welcome".
  79. ^ "Sir Robert Peel, Leicester, Leicestershire". Everards. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  80. ^ "Sir Robert Peel – Dresden – Longton". Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  81. ^ "The Sir Robert Peel - Pub and Restaurant - Bloxwich, Walsall, West Midlands". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  82. ^ Reed 2010, p. 310.
  83. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

  • Adelman, Paul (1989). Peel and the Conservative Party: 1830–1850. London and New York: Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-35557-6.
  • Clark, George Kitson (1964). Peel and the Conservative Party: A Study in Party Politics 1832–1841. 2nd ed. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, The Shoe String Press, Inc.
  • Cragoe, Matthew (2013). "Sir Robert Peel and the 'Moral Authority'of the House of Commons, 1832–41". English Historical Review. 128 (530): 55–77. doi:10.1093/ehr/ces357.
  • Davis, Richard W (1980). "Toryism to Tamworth: The Triumph of Reform, 1827–1835". Albion. 12 (2): 132–146. doi:10.2307/4048814. JSTOR 4048814.
  • Evans, Eric J. (2006). Sir Robert Peel: Statesmanship, Power and Party (2nd ed.). Lancaster Pamphlets.
  • Farnsworth, Susan H. (1992). The Evolution of British Imperial Policy During the Mid-nineteenth Century: A Study of the Peelite Contribution, 1846–1874. Garland Books.
  • Gash, Norman (1961). Mr. Secretary Peel: The Life of Sir Robert Peel to 1830. New York: Longmans., vol 1 of the standard scholarly biography
    • Gash, Norman (1972). Sir Robert Peel: The Life of Sir Robert Peel after 1830. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-87471-132-5.; vol. 2 of the standard scholarly biography
  • Gash, Norman (1953). Politics in the Age of Peel. ISBN 978-0-87471-132-5.
  • Gaunt, Richard A. (2010). Sir Robert Peel: the life and legacy. London: I.B. Tauris.
  • Halévy, Elie (1961). Victorian years, 1841–1895. A History of the English People. 4. pp. 5–159.
  • Hurd, Douglas (2007). Robert Peel: A Biography. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-7538-2384-2
  • Newbould, Ian (1983). "Sir Robert Peel and the Conservative Party, 1832–1841: A Study in Failure?". English Historical Review. 98 (388): 529–557. JSTOR 569783.
  • "Peel, Robert (1788–1850)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 44. 1895.
  • Prest, John (May 2009) [2004]. "Peel, Sir Robert, second baronet (1788–1850)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21764. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  • Ramsay, A.A.W. (1928). Sir Robert Peel.
  • Read, Donald (1987). Peel and the Victorians. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd: Basil Blackwell Ltd. ISBN 978-0-631-15725-0.
  • Reed, A. W. (2010). Peter Dowling (ed.). Place Names of New Zealand. Rosedale, North Shore: Raupo. ISBN 9780143204107.


  • Gaunt, Richard A. (2010). Sir Robert Peel: The Life and Legacy. IB Tauris.
  • Hilton, Boyd (1979). "Peel: a reappraisal". Historical Journal. 22 (3): 585–614. doi:10.1017/s0018246x00017003. JSTOR 2638656.
  • Lentz, Susan A.; Smith, Robert H.; Chaires, R.A. (2007). "The invention of Peel's principles: A study of policing 'textbook' history". Journal of Criminal Justice. 35: 69–79. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2006.11.016.
  • Loades, David Michael (2003). Reader's guide to British history. 2. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.

Primary sources

External links

Political offices
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Chief Secretary for Ireland
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Charles Grant
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Home Secretary
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Home Secretary
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The Viscount Melbourne
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William Huskisson
Leader of the House of Commons
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The Viscount Althorp
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The Duke of Wellington
(caretaker, preceded by)
The Viscount Melbourne
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
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The Viscount Melbourne
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The Lord Denman
Chancellor of the Exchequer
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Lord John Russell
Leader of the House of Commons
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Lord John Russell
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The Viscount Melbourne
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
30 August 1841 – 29 June 1846
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Leader of the House of Commons
Parliament of the United Kingdom
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Member of Parliament for Cashel
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James Dawkins
Member of Parliament for Chippenham
1812 – 1817
With: Charles Brooke
Succeeded by
Charles Brooke
John Maitland
Preceded by
William Scott
Charles Abbot
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
1817 – 1829
With: William Scott 1817–1821
Richard Heber 1821–1826
Thomas Grimston Bucknall Estcourt 1826–1829
Succeeded by
Thomas Grimston Bucknall Estcourt
Sir Robert Inglis
Preceded by
Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes
Sir George Warrender
Member of Parliament for Westbury
1829 – 1830
With: Sir George Warrender
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Grant
Michael George Prendergast
Preceded by
William Yates Peel
Lord Charles Townshend
Member of Parliament for Tamworth
1830 – 1850
With: Lord Charles Townshend 1830–1835
William Yates Peel 1835–1837, 1847
Edward Henry A'Court 1837–1847
John Townshend 1847–1850
Succeeded by
John Townshend
Sir Robert Peel
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Leader of the British Conservative Party
Succeeded by
The Lord Stanley
None recognised before
Conservative Leader in the Commons
Succeeded by
The Lord George Bentinck
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Stanley
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Sir James Graham
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Robert Peel
(of Drayton Manor)
1830 – 1850
Succeeded by
Robert Peel
Bedchamber crisis

The Bedchamber crisis occurred on 7 May 1839 after Whig politician Lord Melbourne declared his intention to resign as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after a government bill passed by a very narrow margin of only five votes in the House of Commons. The distraught young Queen Victoria, whose ardent political sympathies were with the Whigs, first asked the Duke of Wellington, a former Tory prime minister, to form a new government, but he politely declined. She then reluctantly invited Conservative leader Robert Peel to form a government. Peel realised that such a government would hold a minority in the House of Commons and would be structurally weak, possibly damaging his future political career.Peel accepted the invitation on the condition that Victoria dismiss some of her Ladies of the Bedchamber,

many of whom were wives or relatives of leading Whig politicians. She refused the request, considering her ladies as close friends, not as objects of political bargaining. Peel, therefore, refused to become Prime Minister and Melbourne was eventually persuaded to stay on as Prime Minister.

After Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert in 1840, she relied less on her ladies as companions. In the 1841 general election, Peel's Conservatives gained a majority and Victoria appointed Peel as the new Prime Minister, a change of government for which Melbourne had meanwhile been preparing her. Accepting "the wise advice of the democratically minded Prince Albert", Victoria replaced three of her Whig ladies with Conservatives.

At the time of the crisis, the inexperienced Victoria was not yet twenty years old and had been on the throne less than two years. She was dismayed at the thought of losing her first, and so far only, Prime Minister, the avuncular Melbourne, who had been a wise and kindly father-figure to her in the first years of her reign—her own father, the Duke of Kent, had died when she was an infant. Victoria also mistakenly assumed that Peel wanted to replace all of her ladies—her closest friends and companions at court—when in fact Peel wished to replace only six of the twenty-five ladies, but failed to make his intentions clear to Victoria.Late in life, Victoria regretted her youthful intransigence, writing to her private secretary, Arthur Bigge, 1st Baron Stamfordham: "I was very young then, and perhaps I should act differently if it was all to be done again."The Bedchamber Crisis was depicted in the 2009 film The Young Victoria and in the 2016 television-drama series Victoria.

Earl Peel

Earl Peel is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The Peel family descends from Robert Peel, eldest son of a wealthy cotton merchant. The family lands, known as Drayton Manor, in the County of Stafford would become more commonly known in modern-day as an amusement park. The family seat is Elmire House, near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

First Peel ministry

Sir Robert Peel's first government succeeded the caretaker ministry of the Duke of Wellington. Peel was also Chancellor of the Exchequer while the Duke of Wellington served as Foreign Secretary. A young William Ewart Gladstone held office as a Junior Lord of the Treasury, his first governmental post in a ministerial career that would span for the next sixty years.

The Peel ministry was a minority government, and relied on Whig support. However, this the Whigs felt disinclined to give, joining with the Irish radicals to defeat the Conservatives at every turn. After a reign of only four months, the government felt obliged to resign, whereupon the Whig leader Lord Melbourne formed his second government.

List of votes of no confidence in British governments

This a list of votes of no confidence in British governments led by Prime Ministers of the former Kingdom of Great Britain and the current United Kingdom. The first such motion of no confidence to defeat a ministry was in 1742 against Sir Robert Walpole, a Whig who served from 1721 to 1742 and was the de facto first Prime Minister to hold office. Thereafter there have been 21 votes of confidence successfully motioned against British governments. The most recent was held against the Callaghan ministry in March 1979. Following the defeat, Prime Minister James Callaghan was forced to hold a general election by May; he was defeated by Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party.

Before the vote in 1979, the most recent vote of no confidence in a British government was in 1924, the longest interval in British parliamentary history.

Nimigen Island

Nimigen Island (previously: Kemisuack, Kemisoke, Kimersok, Kimisoke) is an uninhabited Baffin Island offshore island located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in Nunavut's Qikiqtaaluk Region. It lies in Cumberland Sound, approximately 10.5 km (6.5 mi) east of Robert Peel Inlet To its east is Utsusivik Island; south is Chidliak Bay.

Nuvujen Island

Nuvujen Island is an uninhabited Baffin Island offshore island located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (the capes) in Nunavut's Qikiqtaaluk Region. It lies on the western shore of Cumberland Sound, between Brown Inlet to the northwest and Robert Peel Inlet to the southeast. Aupaluktut Island lies to its south.

Opingivik Island

Opingivik Island is an uninhabited Baffin Island offshore island located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in Nunavut's Qikiqtaaluk Region. It lies in Cumberland Sound between Ikpit Bay to the north and Robert Peel Inlet approximately 18.6 km (11.6 mi) to the south.A second, smaller Opingivik Island lies in Diana Bay, just south of Diana Island.

Peel River (New South Wales)

Peel River, a watercourse that is part of the Namoi catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, is located in the North West Slopes and Plains district of New South Wales, Australia.

The river rises on the northern slopes of the Liverpool Range, at the junction of the Great Dividing Range and Mount Royal Range, south of the village of Nundle, and flows generally north, west and north west and emerges into the Liverpool Plains near Tamworth. The Peel River is joined by thirteen tributaries, including the Cockburn River, and flows through Chaffey Dam before reaching its mouth at the confluence with the Namoi River; dropping 457 metres (1,499 ft) over its course of 210 kilometres (130 mi).From source to mouth, the river passes through or near the villages of Nundle, Woolomin and Piallamore.

The Peel River was first discovered by European settlers in 1818 by John Oxley and named by Oxley in honour of Sir Robert Peel, an important British politician at the time of its discovery by British settlers in Australia.A Tamworth, the river is crossed by the Main North line via the heritage-listed Tamworth rail bridge, completed in 1882.The famous Australian freshwater native fish Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii, was named after the Peel River by Major Mitchell, who sketched and scientifically described and named one of the numerous Murray cod his men caught from the river on his 1838 expedition.


The Peelites were a breakaway dissident political faction of the British Conservative Party from 1846 to 1859 who joined with the Whigs and Radicals to form the Liberal Party.

They were led by Robert Peel, Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader in 1846.

Robert Peel (Christian Science)

Robert Peel (May 6, 1909 – January 8, 1992) was a Christian Science historian and writer on religious and ecumenical topics. A Christian Scientist for over 70 years, Peel worked for the Church of Christ, Scientist's Committee on Publication, set up by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the religion's founder, to protect her own and the church's reputation.Peel is best known for his three-volume biography, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery (1966), The Years of Trial (1971), and The Years of Authority (1977).

Robert Peel Inlet

Robert Peel Inlet 65°09′N 066°56′W is a body of water in Nunavut's Qikiqtaaluk Region. It lies in western Cumberland Sound, forming a wedge into Baffin Island's Hall Peninsula. There are many irregularly shaped islands at the mouth of the inlet.

Shakshukuk Island

Shakshukuk Island is a Baffin Island offshore island located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in Nunavut's Qikiqtaaluk Region. It lies in Cumberland Sound, at the mouth of Robert Peel Inlet. Shakshukowshee Island lies along its west side.

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet (25 April 1750 – 3 May 1830) was a British politician and industrialist and one of early textile manufacturers of the Industrial Revolution. He was the father of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Sir Robert Peel, 3rd Baronet

Sir Robert Peel, 3rd Baronet, GCB, PC (4 May 1822 – 9 May 1895) was a British Peelite and later Liberal politician. The eldest son of the prime minister Robert Peel, he was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford and entered the Diplomatic Service in 1844. He served as Member of Parliament for Tamworth, his father's constituency, from 1850 until 1880, for Huntingdon from 1884 and for Blackburn from 1885 to 1886. He was appointed Irish secretary in 1861 in Palmerston's ministry, but in 1865, under Russell he was succeeded by Chichester Fortescue. His political career was said to be marred by his lack of dignity and his inability to accept a fixed political creed. He was appointed a GCB in 1866.

Statue of Robert Peel, Parliament Square

The statue of Robert Peel in Parliament Square, London, is a bronze sculpture of Sir Robert Peel, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It was sculpted by Matthew Noble and was one of the first three statues to be placed in the square.

Tamworth (UK Parliament constituency)

Tamworth is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Christopher Pincher, a Conservative.

Tamworth Manifesto

The Tamworth Manifesto was a political manifesto issued by Sir Robert Peel in 1834 in Tamworth, which is widely credited by historians as having laid down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based.

In November 1834, King William IV removed the Whig Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and asked the Duke of Wellington to form a ministry. Wellington was reluctant and recommended that the King choose Peel.

Perhaps owing to Wellington's endorsement, Peel intended from the start, as the historian S. J. Lee tells, "to fully convince the country and electorate that there was a substantial difference between his brand of conservatism and that of his predecessor and 'old tory' Wellington."

With that in mind, on 18 December the Tamworth Manifesto was published by the press and read around the country. Like many other manifestos in nineteenth-century British politics it was formally an address to the electors of the leader's own constituency, but reproduced widely. In the event Tamworth saw no contest in January 1835: Peel and his brother were the only candidates – they were elected, i.e. "returned", unopposed.

Utsusivik Island

Utsusivik Island is an uninhabited Baffin Island offshore island located in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in Nunavut's Qikiqtaaluk Region. It lies in Cumberland Sound, across the mouth of Chidliak Bay, approximately 14.4 km (8.9 mi) southeast of Robert Peel Inlet Nimigen Island lies to its west.

William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel

William James Robert Peel, 3rd Earl Peel, (born 3 October 1947), styled Viscount Clanfield until 1969, was a Conservative peer from 15 May 1973 until October 2006 when, on his appointment as Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, he became a crossbench (non-party) member of the House of Lords.

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