In November, 1830, Earl Grey, a Whig, became Prime Minister and began to introduce proposals to reduce the rotten boroughs and give industrial towns such as Manchester and Birmingham representation in the House of Commons. The Tories, who had been the dominant force in the Commons for sixty years, were strongly opposed to increasing the franchise. In April 1831 Grey asked William IV to dissolve Parliament so the Whigs could secure a larger majority in the Commons to carry their proposals for parliamentary reform. William agreed and after making his speech in the House of Lords, walked back to Buckingham Palace through cheering crowds.
On 22nd September 1831, the House of Commons passed the Reform Bill to jubilation from the public. However the bill was defeated in the Tory-dominated House of Lords, upon which Reform Riots took place in several British towns. Grey tried to persuade the king to increase the number of Whig peers in order to pass the re-introduced bill, but the king refused. The government resigned and William IV asked the leader of the Tories, the Duke of Wellington, to form a new government. Wellington tried to do this but some Tories were unwilling to oppose the majority of the people in Britain, arguing of the danger of a civil war.
William, who had now lost his popularity, asked Grey to return to office, which he did, asking the king again to create new Whig peers. This time the king agreed, and the Lords passed the 1832 Reform Act. Despite the controversy this bill was not as comprehensive as many would have liked and there were still strict property qualifications: voting in the boroughs was restricted to men with homes with an annual value of £10 and only one in seven adult males had the vote.