William Ewart Gladstone, FRS, FSS, was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times, more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 when he resigned for the last time. He had also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.
Gladstone first entered Parliament in 1832. Beginning as a High Tory, Gladstone served in the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel. After the split of the Conservatives Gladstone was a Peelite – in 1859 the Peelites merged with the Whigs and the Radicals to form the Liberal Party. As Chancellor Gladstone became committed to low public spending and to electoral reform, earning him the sobriquet "The People's William".
Gladstone's first ministry saw many reforms including Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the introduction of secret voting. After his electoral defeat in 1874, Gladstone resigned as leader of the Liberal Party, but from 1876 began a comeback based on opposition to Turkey's Bulgarian atrocities. Gladstone's Midlothian Campaign of 1879–1880 was an early example of many modern political campaigning techniques. After the 1880 election, he formed his second ministry, which saw crises in Egypt, and in Ireland, where the government passed repressive measures but also improved the legal rights of Irish tenant farmers. The government also passed the Third Reform Act.