"oh dear me, what a Radical you are!"
Lord John Russell, 'son of a Duke but a crusading radical'
Public DomainLord John Russell, 'son of a Duke but a crusading radical' - Credit: Sir Francis Grant

The Radicals were a political group in the mid-18th century who supported parliamentary reform, together with Catholic Emancipation and free trade.

The Whig Reform Act of 1832 had enfranchised the middle classes, but failed to meet radical demands, particularly for universal male suffrage. The mainly aristocratic Whigs in the House of Commons were joined by a small number of parliamentary Radicals who insisted on the vote for working class men. 

These radicals were distinctly middle class. They opposed the political dominance and economic interests of the traditional British elites, and supported free trade and individual self-ownership.

The Radicals joined the Whigs to form the Liberal Party in 1859.