In March 1679 he protested against the second reading of the bill for disabling Danby.
He developed this line of argument when moving the second reading of the Home Rule bill in April, and at Dundee in the autumn outlined a general policy under which England would be cut up into self-governing areas.
The second reading of the bill was rejected by a small majority, and Gladstone resigned; but, as Disraeli could not form a government, he resumed office.
In May the Radicals who followed Mr Bright and Mr Chamberlain, and the Whigs who took their cue from Lord Hartington, decided to vote against the second reading of the Home Rule Bill, instead of allowing it to be taken and then pressing for modifications in committee, and on 7th June the bill was defeated by 343 to 3 1 3, 94 Liberal Unionists - as they were generally called - voting against the government.
On the 22nd of March 1869 he delivered a very powerful speech against the second reading of the bill, and during its later stages exercised a considerable influence in modifying the severity of its provisions.