Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) was a Tory politician and Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1834 to 1835, then again from 1841 to 1846. He entered politics at the age of 21 in 1809 and was well-regarded, although served minor roles in the Tory government such as Undersecretary for War and Chief Secretary of Ireland. In 1822 he entered the Cabinet as Home Secretary – whilst in this post, he established the Metropolitan Police Force of London in 1829, the first modern police force. Policemen have since been referred to as ‘bobbies’ (England) or ‘Peelers’ (Ireland) and Peel is regarded as the father of modern policing, having laid out the requirements necessary for an effective and successful force.
Peel’s First Ministry was a minority government and lasted only 100 days, due to the Whig collaboration with the Irish Radicals to defeat all the Tory bills. Peel resigned to Lord Melbourne and was given his next chance at government in 1839. However, Queen Victoria refused to change her ladies-in-waiting to Tory women, as per tradition, and fearing the favouritism she showed towards Lord Melbourne, Peel refused to form a government. His second ministry eventually began in 1841. Some of the most famous acts of parliament passed during this time were the Factory Act 1844 and the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, which allowed free trade of grain between Britain and Ireland. Passed with Whig and Radical support but opposed by his own party, Peel resigned after passing the bill. He remained active in politics, with a core of Peelite supporters, until his death due to a riding accident in 1850.