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The decision of Gladstone’s government to invade and occupy Egypt in 1882 remains one of the most contentious in late nineteenth-century British political and imperial history. This article examines the decision-making process in June and July 1882, revisiting Robinson and Gallagher’s influential study in the light of more recent historiographical research and previously unused sources. It looks at who made the critical decisions, what their preoccupations were, and how they were able to get Cabinet approval. Hartington and Northbrook were the two key figures, who co-operated to overturn Gladstone’s and Granville’s policy in June 1882. Yet their co-operation was momentary and they found themselves on different sides of the argument over the participation of Indian forces and international support. Although they shared a sense of Egypt’s importance to British imperial security, they each had a distinctive approach, so that the decision to occupy cannot be reduced to a conflict between Whig pragmatists and Radical idealists. The article also shows how the Alexandria riot on 11 June altered the context of decision-making by shifting the mood in the parliamentary Liberal party towards intervention. Parliament, not the press, was the crucial site of ‘public opinion’ in the Egyptian crisis in June and July 1882.Read more with Oxford Journals.