In 1797 Grey introduced a parliamentary Reform Bill which was defeated heavily. It became clear to the Foxite Whigs that they would not be able to make any progress towards reform during the French Wars so they virtually withdrew from parliamentary life for a number of years. Grey did not speak in parliament for two years but when he did, it was to oppose the with . He wanted to see a much more liberal policy towards Ireland and demanded that the discrimination against Catholics should be ended. Despite his efforts, the Act of Union was passed in 1800, to be implemented on 1 January 1801. By that time, Grey was attending parliament very rarely and spent his time in Northumberland. It took four days to travel from Howick to London, and Grey was reluctant to go south for the parliamentary sessions. Also, Grey had become much less politically extreme. His criticism of the government for resuming the war with France in 1803 was much milder than that of Fox.


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