October 24th, 2013
Episode 325 of 538 episodes
The Corn Laws were passed by the British Government in 1815 to keep the price of corn artificially high. The measure was supported by landowners but strongly opposed by manufacturers and the urban working class. In the 1830s the Anti-Corn Law League was founded to campaign for their repeal. Robert Peel's Conservative government finally repealed the laws in 1846, splitting his party in the process. The resulting debate had profound consequences for the political and economic future of the country. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Lawrence Goldman, Fellow in Modern History at St Peter's College, Oxford; Boyd Hilton, Former Professor of Modern British History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Trinity College and Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey, Reader in Political Science at the London School of Economics.