This was a period when securing a majority in the House of Commons was difficult, and the Marquess of Salisbury had led a minority Conservative administration for the past six months. The election of December 1885 was the first to be held after the 1884 Reform Act had extended the franchise, and it saw a swing to the Liberals, although the presence of the Irish Nationalists prevented them from gaining an outright majority. William Ewert Gladstone took over as Prime Minister for the third time, but his administration lasted less than six months, because it saw a split in the Liberal Party. A 'Liberal Unionist' wing led by Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain, which prioritised the continuation of British rule in Ireland, broke away and …
Editors. "Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the third time". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1865, accessed 27 April 2015.]