Michael Mackintosh Foot FRSL (23 July 1913 – 3 March 2010), a British Labour Party politician, began his career as a journalist on Tribune and the Evening Standard. He co-wrote the classic 1940 polemic against appeasement of Adolf Hitler, Guilty Men, under a pseudonym.
Foot served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1945 to 1955 and again from 1960 until he retired in 1992. A passionate orator, and associated with the left-wing of the Labour Party for most of his career, Foot was an ardent supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and of British withdrawal from the European Economic Community. He was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Employment under Harold Wilson in 1974, and he later served as Leader of the House of Commons (1976-1979) under James Callaghan. He was also Deputy Leader of the Labour Party under Callaghan from 1976 to 1980.
Elected as a compromise candidate, Foot served as the Leader of the Labour Party, and Leader of the Opposition from 1980 to 1983. His strongly left-wing political positions and criticisms of vacillating leadership made him an unpopular leader. Not particularly telegenic, he was nicknamed "Worzel Gummidge" for his rumpled appearance. A centrist faction of the party broke away in 1981 to form the SDP. Foot led Labour into the 1983 general election, when the party obtained its lowest share of the vote since the 1918 general election and the fewest parliamentary seats it had had at any time since before 1945. He resigned the party leadership after the election, and was succeeded as leader by Neil Kinnock.
|Leader of the Opposition|
10 November 1980 – 2 October 1983
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||James Callaghan|
|Succeeded by||Neil Kinnock|
|Leader of the Labour Party|
10 November 1980 – 2 October 1983
|Preceded by||James Callaghan|
|Succeeded by||Neil Kinnock|
|Deputy Leader of the Labour Party|
5 April 1976 – 10 November 1980
|Preceded by||Edward Short|
|Succeeded by||Denis Healey|
|Shadow Leader of the House of Commons|
4 May 1979 – 10 November 1980
|Preceded by||Norman St John-Stevas|
|Succeeded by||John Silkin|
|Leader of the House of Commons|
8 April 1976 – 4 May 1979
|Prime Minister||James Callaghan|
|Preceded by||Edward Short|
|Succeeded by||Norman St John-Stevas|
|Lord President of the Council|
8 April 1976 – 4 May 1979
|Prime Minister||James Callaghan|
|Preceded by||Edward Short|
|Succeeded by||Christopher Soames|
|Secretary of State for Employment|
5 March 1974 – 8 April 1976
|Prime Minister||Harold Wilson|
|Preceded by||William Whitelaw|
|Succeeded by||Albert Booth|
|Member of Parliament|
for Blaenau Gwent
Ebbw Vale (1960–92)
17 November 1960 – 9 April 1992
|Preceded by||Aneurin Bevan|
|Succeeded by||Llew Smith|
|Member of Parliament|
for Plymouth Devonport
5 July 1945 – 26 May 1955
|Preceded by||Leslie Hore-Belisha|
|Succeeded by||Joan Vickers|
Michael Mackintosh Foot
23 July 1913
Plymouth, Devon, England
|Died||3 March 2010 (aged 96)|
Hampstead, London, England
(m. 1949; died 1999)
|Relatives||Sir Dingle Foot (brother)|
The Lord Caradon (brother)
The Lord Foot (brother)
Paul Foot (nephew)
Oliver Foot (nephew)
Leighton Park School
|Alma mater||Wadham College, Oxford|
Foot was born in Lipson Terrace, Plymouth, Devon, the fifth of seven children of Isaac Foot (1880–1960) and Eva (née Mackintosh, died 17 May 1946), who was Scottish. Isaac Foot was a solicitor and founder of the Plymouth law firm Foot and Bowden (which amalgamated with another firm to become Foot Anstey). Isaac Foot was an active member of the Liberal Party and was the Liberal Member of Parliament for Bodmin in Cornwall from 1922–24 and again from 1929–35, and a Lord Mayor of Plymouth.
Michael Foot was the brother of Sir Dingle Foot MP (1905–78), a Liberal and subsequently Labour MP; Hugh Foot, Baron Caradon (1907–90), Governor of Cyprus (1957–60) and representative of the United Kingdom at the United Nations from 1964–70; Liberal politician John Foot, Baron Foot (1909–99); Margaret Elizabeth Foot (1911–65), Jennifer Mackintosh Highet (born 1916) and Christopher Isaac Foot (1917–84). He was the uncle of campaigning journalist Paul Foot (1937–2004) and charity worker Oliver Foot (1946–2008).
Foot was educated at Plymouth College Preparatory School, Forres School in Swanage, and Leighton Park School in Reading. When he left Forres School, the headmaster sent a letter to his father in which he said “he has been the leading boy in the school in every way”. He then went on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Wadham College, Oxford. Foot was a president of the Oxford Union. He also took part in the ESU USA Tour (the debating tour of the United States run by the English-Speaking Union). Upon graduating with a second-class degree in 1934, he took a job as a shipping clerk in Birkenhead. Foot was profoundly influenced by the poverty and unemployment that he witnessed in Liverpool, which was on a different scale from anything he had seen in Plymouth. A Liberal up to this time, Foot was converted to socialism by Oxford University Labour Club president David Lewis, a Canadian Rhodes scholar, and others: "... I knew him [at Oxford] when I was a Liberal [and Lewis] played a part in converting me to socialism." Foot joined the Labour Party and first stood for parliament, aged 22, at the 1935 general election, where he contested Monmouth. During the election, Foot criticised the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, for seeking rearmament. In his election address, Foot contended that "the armaments race in Europe must be stopped now". Foot also supported unilateral disarmament, after multilateral disarmament talks at Geneva had broken down in 1933.
Foot became a journalist, working briefly on the New Statesman, before joining the left-wing weekly Tribune when it was set up in early 1937 to support the Unity Campaign, an attempt to secure an anti-fascist United Front between Labour and other left-wing parties. The campaign's members were Stafford Cripps's (Labour-affiliated) Socialist League, the Independent Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CP). Foot resigned in 1938 after the paper's first editor, William Mellor, was sacked for refusing to adopt a new CP policy of backing a Popular Front, including non-socialist parties, against fascism and appeasement. In a 1955 interview, Foot ideologically identified as a libertarian socialist.
On the recommendation of Aneurin Bevan, Foot was soon hired by Lord Beaverbrook to work as a writer on his Evening Standard. (Bevan is supposed to have told Beaverbrook on the phone: "I've got a young bloody knight-errant here. They sacked his boss, so he resigned. Have a look at him.") At the outbreak of the Second World War, Foot volunteered for military service, but was rejected because of his chronic asthma. It was suggested in 2011 that he became a member of the secret Auxiliary Units.
In 1940, under the pen-name "Cato" he and two other Beaverbrook journalists (Frank Owen, editor of the Standard, and Peter Howard of the Daily Express) published Guilty Men, which attacked the appeasement policy of the Chamberlain government; it became a runaway bestseller. (In so doing, Foot reversed his position of the 1935 election — when he had attacked the Conservatives as militaristic and demanded disarmament in the face of Nazi Germany.) Beaverbrook made Foot editor of the Evening Standard in 1942, when he was aged 28. During the war, Foot made a speech that was later featured in the documentary TV series The World at War broadcast in February 1974. Foot was speaking in defence of the Daily Mirror, which had criticised the conduct of the war by the Churchill government. He mocked the notion that the Government would make no more territorial demands of other newspapers if they allowed the Mirror to be censored.
Foot left the Standard in 1945 to join the Daily Herald as a columnist. The Daily Herald was jointly owned by the TUC and Odhams Press, and was effectively an official Labour Party paper. He rejoined Tribune as editor from 1948 to 1952, and was again the paper's editor from 1955 to 1960. Throughout his political career he railed against the increasing corporate domination of the press.
Foot fought the Plymouth Devonport constituency in the 1945 general election. His election agent was Labour activist and lifelong friend Ron Lemin. He won the seat for Labour for the first time, holding it until his surprise defeat by Dame Joan Vickers at the 1955 general election. Until 1957, he was the most prominent ally of Aneurin Bevan, who had taken Cripps's place as leader of the Labour left, though Foot and Bevan fell out after Bevan renounced unilateral nuclear disarmament at the 1957 Labour Party conference.
Before the Cold War began in the late 1940s, Foot favoured a 'third way' foreign policy for Europe (he was joint author with Richard Crossman and Ian Mikardo of the pamphlet Keep Left in 1947), but in the wake of the communist seizure of power in Hungary and Czechoslovakia he and Tribune took a strongly anti-communist position, eventually embracing NATO.
Foot was however a critic of the West's handling of the Korean War, an opponent of West German rearmament in the early 1950s and a founder member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Under his editorship, Tribune opposed both the British government's Suez adventure and the Soviet crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. In this period he made regular television appearances on the current affairs programmes In The News (BBC) and subsequently Free Speech (ITV). "There was certainly nothing wrong with his television technique in those days", reflected Anthony Howard shortly after Foot's death.
Foot returned to parliament at a by-election in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire in 1960, the seat having been left vacant by Bevan's death. He had the Labour whip withdrawn in March 1961 after rebelling against the Labour leadership over air force estimates. He only returned to the Parliamentary Labour Group in 1963, when Harold Wilson became Labour leader after the sudden death of Hugh Gaitskell.
Harold Wilson — the subject of an enthusiastic campaign biography by Foot published by Robert Maxwell's Pergamon Press in 1964 — offered Foot a place in his first government, but Foot turned it down, instead becoming the leader of Labour's left opposition from the back benches. He opposed the government's moves to restrict immigration, join the European Communities (or "Common Market" as they were referred to) and reform the trade unions, was against the Vietnam War and Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence, and denounced the Soviet suppression of "socialism with a human face" in Czechoslovakia in 1968. He also famously allied with the Tory right-winger Enoch Powell to scupper the government's plan to abolish the voting rights of hereditary peers and create a House of Lords comprising only life peers — a "seraglio of eunuchs" as Foot put it.
After 1970, Labour moved to the left and Wilson came to an accommodation with Foot. Foot served in the Second Shadow Cabinet of Harold Wilson in various roles between 1970 and 1974. In April 1972, he stood for the Deputy Leadership of the party, along with Edward Short and Anthony Crosland. Short defeated Foot in the second ballot after Crosland had been eliminated in the first.
When, in 1974, Labour returned to office under Wilson, Foot became Secretary of State for Employment. According to Ben Pimlott, his appointment was intended to please the left of the party and the Trade Unions. In this role, he played the major part in the government's efforts to maintain the trade unions' support. He was also responsible for the Health and Safety at Work Act. Foot was one of the mainstays of the "no" campaign in the 1975 referendum on British membership of the European Communities. When Wilson retired in 1976, Foot contested the party leadership and led in the first ballot, but was ultimately defeated by James Callaghan. Later that year Foot was elected Deputy Leader, and served as Leader of the House of Commons, which gave him the unenviable task of trying to maintain the survival of the Callaghan government as its majority evaporated.
In 1975, Foot, along with Jennie Lee and others, courted controversy when they supported Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, after she prompted the declaration of a state of emergency. In December 1975, The Times ran an editorial titled 'Is Mr Foot a Fascist?' — their answer was that he was —  after Norman Tebbit accused him of 'undiluted fascism' when Foot said that the Ferrybridge Six deserved dismissal for defying a closed shop.
Following Labour's 1979 general election defeat by Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan remained as party leader for the next 18 months before he resigned. Foot was elected Labour leader on 10 November 1980, beating Denis Healey in the second round of the leadership election (the last leadership contest to involve only Labour MPs). Foot presented himself as a compromise candidate, capable — unlike Healey — of uniting the party, which at the time was riven by the grassroots left-wing insurgency centred around Tony Benn.
The Bennites were demanding revenge for what they considered to be the betrayals of the Callaghan government. They called for MPs who had acquiesced in Callaghan's policies to be replaced by left-wingers who would support unilateral nuclear disarmament, withdrawal from the European Communities, and widespread nationalisation. (Benn did not stand for the leadership: apart from Foot and Healey, the other candidates — both eliminated in the first round — were John Silkin, a Tribunite like Foot, and Peter Shore, a Eurosceptic.)
When he became leader, Foot was already 67 years old; and frail. After the 1979 energy crisis, Britain went into recession in 1980, which was blamed on the Conservative government's controversial monetarist policy against inflation, which had the effect of increasing unemployment. As a result, Labour had moved ahead of the Conservatives in the opinion polls. After Foot's election as leader, opinion polls showed a double-digit lead for Labour, boosting his hopes of becoming Prime Minister at the next general election, which had to be held by May 1984.
When Foot became leader, the Conservative politician Kenneth Baker commented: "Labour was led by Dixon of Dock Green under Jim Callaghan. Now it is led by Worzel Gummidge." Foot's nickname in the press gradually became "Worzel Gummidge", or "Worzel". This became particularly common after Remembrance Day 1981. After his tenure as leader, Foot would be "depicted as a scarecrow on ITV’s satirical puppet show Spitting Image."
Almost immediately after his election as leader, he was faced with a serious crisis. On 25 January 1981, four senior politicians on the right-wing of the Labour Party (Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, David Owen and William Rodgers, the so-called "Gang of Four") left Labour and formed the SDP, which was launched on 26 March 1981. This was largely seen as the consequence of the Labour Party's swing to the left, polarising divisions in an already divided party.
The SDP won the support of large sections of the media. For most of 1981 and early-1982 its opinion poll ratings suggested that it could at least overtake Labour and possibly win a general election. The Conservatives were then unpopular because of the economic policies of Margaret Thatcher, which had seen unemployment reach a postwar high.
The Labour left was still strong. In 1981, Benn decided to challenge Healey for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party, a contest Healey won, albeit narrowly. Foot struggled to make an impact, and was widely criticised for his ineffectiveness, though his performances in the Commons — most notably on the Falklands War of 1982 — won him widespread respect from other parliamentarians. He was criticised by some on the left for supporting Thatcher's immediate resort to military action. The right-wing newspapers nevertheless lambasted him consistently for what they saw as his bohemian eccentricity, attacking him for wearing what they described as a "donkey jacket" (actually he wore a type of duffel coat) at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day in November 1981, for which he was likened to an "out-of-work navvy" by a fellow Labour MP. Foot did not make it generally known that the Queen Mother had described it as a "sensible coat for a day like this", which could be considered a slight or a compliment depending on whether irony was intended. He later donated the coat to the People's History Museum in Manchester, which holds a collection that spans Foot's entire political career from 1938 to 1990, and his personal papers dating back to 1926.
The formation of the SDP — which formed an alliance with the Liberal Party in June 1981 — contributed to a fall in Labour support. The double-digit lead which had still been intact in opinion polls at the start of 1981 was swiftly wiped out, and by the end of October the opinion polls were showing the Alliance ahead of Labour. Labour briefly regained their lead of most opinion polls in early 1982, but when the Falklands conflict ended on 14 June 1982 with a British victory over Argentina, opinion polls showed the Conservatives firmly in the lead. Their position at the top of the polls was strengthened by the return to economic growth later in the year. It was looking certain that the Conservatives would be re-elected, and the only key issue that the media were still speculating by the end of 1982 was whether it would be Labour or the Alliance who formed the next opposition.
Through late 1982 and early 1983, there was constant speculation that Labour MPs would replace Foot with Healey as leader. Such speculation increased after Labour lost the 1983 Bermondsey by-election, in which Peter Tatchell was Labour candidate, standing against a Conservative, a Liberal (eventual winner Simon Hughes) and John O'Grady, who had declared himself the Real Bermondsey Labour candidate. Critically, Labour held on in a subsequent by-election in Darlington, and Foot remained leader for the 1983 general election.
The 1983 Labour manifesto, strongly socialist in tone, advocated unilateral nuclear disarmament, higher personal taxation and a return to a more interventionist industrial policy. The manifesto also pledged that a Labour government would abolish the House of Lords, nationalise banks and immediately withdraw from the then-European Economic Community. Gerald Kaufman, once Harold Wilson's press officer and during the 1980s a prominent figure on the Labour right-wing, described the 1983 Labour manifesto as "the longest suicide note in history."
As a statement on internal democracy, Foot passed the edict that the manifesto would consist of all resolutions arrived at conference. The party also failed to master the medium of television, while Foot addressed public meetings around the country, and made some radio broadcasts, in the same manner as Clement Attlee did in 1945. Members joked that they had not expected Foot to allow the slogan "Think positive, Act positive, Vote Labour" on grammatical grounds.
Foot's involvement in the nuclear disarmament movement gave rise to the beloved story that The Times ran the headline "Foot Heads Arms Body" over an article about his leadership of a nuclear-disarmament committee. Some decades later, Martyn Cornell recalled the story as true, saying he had written the headline himself as a Times subeditor around 1986. The headline does not, however, appear in The Times Digital Archive, which includes every day's newspaper for the years 1785–2010.
The Daily Mirror was the only major newspaper to back Foot and the Labour Party at the 1983 general election, urging its readers to vote Labour and "Stop the waste of our nation, for your job your children and your future" in response to the mass unemployment which followed Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's monetarist economic policies to reduce inflation. Most other newspapers urged their readers to vote Conservative.
The Labour Party led by Foot, lost to the Conservatives in a landslide – a result which had been widely predicted by the opinion polls since the previous summer. The only consolation for Foot and Labour was that they did not lose their place in opposition to the SDP-Liberal Alliance, who came close to them in terms of votes but were still a long way behind in terms of seats. Despite this, Foot was very critical of the Alliance, accusing them of "siphoning" Labour support and enabling the Tories to win more seats.
Foot took a back seat in Labour politics after 1983 and retired from the House of Commons at the 1992 general election, when Labour lost to the Tories (led by John Major) for the fourth election in succession, but remained politically active. From 1987 to 1992, he was the oldest sitting British MP (preceding former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath). He defended Salman Rushdie, after Ayatollah Khomeini advocated killing the novelist in a fatwā, and took a strongly pro-interventionist position against Serbia during its conflict with Croatia and Bosnia, supporting NATO forces whilst citing defence of civilian populations in the latter countries. In addition he was among the Patrons of the British-Croatian Society. The Guardian's political editor Michael White criticised Foot's "overgenerous" support for Croatian leader Franjo Tuđman.
Foot remained a high-profile member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He wrote several books, including highly regarded biographies of Aneurin Bevan and H. G. Wells. Indeed, he was a distinguished Vice-president of the H. G. Wells Society. Many of his friends have said publicly that they regret that he ever gave up literature for politics.
Michael Foot became a supporter of pro-Europeanism in the 1990s.
In a poll of Labour party activists he was voted the worst post-war Labour party leader. Though Foot is considered by many a failure as Labour leader, his biographer Mervyn Jones strongly makes the case that no one else could have held Labour together at the time, particularly in the face of the controversy over the infiltration of the party by Militant. Foot is remembered with affection in Westminster as a great parliamentarian. He was widely liked, and admired for his integrity, habitual courtesy, and generosity of spirit, by both his colleagues and opponents.
Oleg Gordievsky, a high-ranking KGB officer who defected from the Soviet Union to Britain in 1985, made allegations against Foot in his 1995 memoirs. The Sunday Times, which serialised Gordievsky's book under the headline "KGB: Michael Foot was our agent", claimed in an article of 19 February that the Soviet intelligence services regarded Foot as an "agent of influence", codenamed "Agent BOOT", and in the pay of the KGB for many years. Crucially, the newspaper used material from the original manuscript of the book which had not been included in the published version. At the time a leading article in The Independent newspaper asserted: "It seems extraordinary that such an unreliable figure should now be allowed, given the lack of supporting evidence, to damage the reputation of figures such as Mr Foot." In a February 1992 interview, Gordievsky had claimed that he had no further Labour Party revelations to make. Foot successfully sued the Sunday Times, winning "substantial" damages.
However, in the Daily Telegraph in 2010, Charles Moore gave a "full account", which he said had been provided to him by Gordievsky shortly after Foot's death, of the extent of Foot's alleged KGB involvement. The account provides additional information concerning the allegations, but no new evidence. The evidence against Foot consists solely of Gordievsky's testimony. Moore wrote that, although the claims are difficult to corroborate without MI6 and KGB files, Gordievsky's past record in revealing KGB contacts in Britain had been shown to be reliable. However Moore did not think that Foot would have known that he was considered an agent, and he probably considered that he was simply keeping the Soviet Union well informed in the interests of peace. There is no evidence Foot gave away secrets.
Foot was a passionate supporter of Plymouth Argyle Football Club from his childhood and once remarked that he wasn't going to die until he had seen them play in the Premier League. He served for several years as a director of the club, seeing two promotions under his tenure.
For his 90th birthday, Foot was registered with the Football League as an honorary player and given the shirt number 90. This made him the oldest registered professional player in the history of football.
He was a great music lover 
In February 2007, it was revealed that Foot had an extramarital affair with a woman around 35 years his junior in the early-1970s. The affair, which lasted nearly a year, put a considerable strain on his marriage. The affair is detailed in Foot's official biography, published in March 2007.
On 23 July 2006, his 93rd birthday, Michael Foot became the longest-lived leader of a major British political party, passing Lord Callaghan's record of 92 years, 364 days.
A staunch republican (though well liked by the Royal Family on a personal level), Foot rejected honours from the Queen and the government, including a knighthood and a peerage, on more than one occasion.
In October 1963, he was involved in a car crash, suffering pierced lungs, broken ribs, and a broken left leg. Foot used a walking stick for the rest of his life. According to former MP Tam Dalyell, Foot had up until the accident, been a chain-smoker; but gave up the habit thereafter.
Foot died at his Hampstead, north London home in the morning of 3 March 2010 at the age of 96. The House of Commons was informed of the news later that day by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who told the House: "I am sure that this news will be received with great sadness not only in my own party but across the country as a whole." Foot's funeral was a non-religious service, held on 15 March 2010 at Golders Green Crematorium in North-West London.
A memorial to Foot in Plymouth was vandalised with Nazi symbols in the wake of the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in July 2016.
Foot was portrayed by Patrick Godfrey in the 2002 BBC production of Ian Curteis's long unproduced The Falklands Play and by Michael Pennington in the film The Iron Lady. Foot was likened to the scarecrow Worzel Gummidge in Dear Bill, a long-running series of fictional letters which appeared in the British satirical magazine Private Eye, purportedly written by Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher, to his friend and golfing partner Bill Deedes, former editor of the Daily Telegraph.
In 1983, a vinyl record was pressed entitled The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Foot, however the whole disc groove was totally silent.
| Editor of the Evening Standard
| Editor of Tribune
Served alongside: Evelyn Anderson
| Editor of Tribune
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Plymouth Devonport
| Member of Parliament for Ebbw Vale
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent
| Secretary of State for Employment
| Leader of the House of Commons
Norman St John-Stevas
| Lord President of the Council
The Lord Soames
| Leader of the Opposition
|Party political offices|
| Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
| Leader of the Labour Party
| Oldest sitting member of the House of Commons
The Ebbw Vale by-election of 17 November 1960 was a by-election for a single seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Caused by the death of Labour Party Deputy Leader Aneurin Bevan, the constituency was very safely held by the party and never in danger of changing hands. The selection of Michael Foot, a prominent leftwinger out of sympathy with the party leadership on nuclear disarmament and other issues, led to a lively campaign. Foot's handy win was seen as causing problems for party leader Hugh Gaitskell.1970 Labour Party (UK) deputy leadership election
The 1970 Labour Party deputy leadership election took place on 8 July 1970, after sitting deputy leader George Brown lost his seat at the 1970 general election.1971 Labour Party (UK) deputy leadership election
The 1971 Labour Party deputy leadership election took place in November 1971 after left-wingers Michael Foot and Tony Benn challenged sitting deputy leader Roy Jenkins.1972 Labour Party (UK) deputy leadership election
The 1972 Labour Party deputy leadership election took place in April 1972 after Roy Jenkins resigned as deputy leader over the decision to hold a referendum on Britain's entry into the Common Market.Edward Short, formerly Education Secretary in the government of Harold Wilson, was regarded as a "unity" candidate, and won the election over his main rival, the left-winger Michael Foot, who had unsuccessfully stood for the deputy leadership in 1970 and 1971.1976 Labour Party (UK) deputy leadership election
The 1976 Labour Party deputy leadership election occurred when Edward Short stood down from the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. It was won by Michael Foot who had stood unsuccessfully for the position three times before, and had come second to James Callaghan in the leadership election the previous April.1976 Labour Party (UK) leadership election
The 1976 Labour Party leadership election occurred when Harold Wilson resigned as Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister. It is the only occasion the Labour Party has had a leadership election with more than one candidate whilst in government.1980 Labour Party (UK) deputy leadership election
The 1980 Labour Party deputy leadership election took place on 13 November 1980 when incumbent deputy leader Michael Foot was elected leader of the Labour Party, defeating Denis Healey. Healey was subsequently elected unopposed as deputy leader.1980 Labour Party (UK) leadership election
The 1980 Labour Party leadership election was held following the resignation of James Callaghan. Callaghan had been Prime Minister from 1976 to 1979 and had stayed on as leader of the Labour Party for eighteen months in order to oversee an orderly transition to his favoured successor, Denis Healey over his own deputy Michael Foot. However, during this period the party had become bogged down in internal arguments about its procedures and future direction.
Initially, the candidates were thought likely to be Denis Healey, Peter Shore and John Silkin, but Michael Foot was persuaded to stand by left-wingers who believed that only he could defeat Healey. In the event, Foot won by a margin of 10 votes in the final ballot of MPs.1981 Labour Party (UK) Shadow Cabinet election
Elections to the Labour Party's Shadow Cabinet (more formally, its "Parliamentary Committee") took place on 19 November 1981. There were 15 posts, rather than 12 as in previous years. In addition to the 15 members elected, the Leader (Michael Foot), Deputy Leader (Denis Healey), Labour Chief Whip (Michael Cocks), Labour Leader in the House of Lords (Lord Peart), and Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (Jack Dormand) were automatically members.
Of the 12 incumbent members, 10 were re-elected. Tony Benn, who was the top loser in 1980 automatically took the William Rodgers when the latter left the party to create the Social Democratic Party. He lost again in this election. It is unclear whether Roy Mason lost re-election or did not stand. The results of the election, though incomplete, are below1981 United Kingdom local elections
Local elections were held in the United Kingdom in May 1981. The results were a mid-term setback for the Conservative government, which lost 1,193 seats, leaving them with 10,545 councillors. The projected share of the vote was more respectable for the government, however: Labour 41%, Conservatives 38%, Liberals 17%. This was in spite of opinion polls showing a much wider Labour lead over the Conservatives. These were the first elections to be contested by Labour under the leadership of Michael Foot, who had succeeded James Callaghan in late 1980.
Elections took place for the county councils and the Greater London Council, which elected 50 Labour councillors, 41 Conservatives and 1 Liberal.
In terms of the county councils, changes in party control were as follows;
Labour gain from Conservative: Cumbria, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire
Labour gain from no overall control: Northumberland
Conservative lose to no overall control: Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire
Liberal gain from Conservative: Isle of Wight
Labour gained 988 overall seats, bringing their number of councillors to 8,999. These was the first electoral test for Labour leader Michael Foot, who had become Labour leader in November 1980.
The Liberal Party gained 306 seats and finished with 1,455 councillors. The 1981 local elections were to be the last to be held before the Liberals formed an alliance with the new Social Democratic Party (SDP) in June 1981.1983 Labour Party (UK) deputy leadership election
A deputy leadership election for the Labour Party in the United Kingdom took place on 2 October 1983 to replace incumbent Deputy Leader Denis Healey. Healey had served in the position since 1980, becoming deputy leader at the same time that Michael Foot became party leader. Foot and Healey had both announced their resignations after the general election on 9 June 1983, in which a disastrous performance left the Labour Party with just 209 seats in parliament.
The election was conducted using the Labour party's electoral college. It was won by Roy Hattersley, who won more than two-thirds of the votes. On the same day, Neil Kinnock won the leadership election. A young Peter Mandelson was employed in Hattersley's campaign team for the deputy leadership contest.
The election took place at Labour Party conference, with affiliated trade unions holding 40% of the votes, delegates from Constituency Labour Parties holding 30% of the votes, and the Parliamentary Labour Party holding the final 30% of the votes.1983 Labour Party (UK) leadership election
The 1983 Labour Party leadership election was an election in the United Kingdom for the leadership of the Labour Party. It occurred when former leader Michael Foot resigned after winning only 209 seats at the 1983 general election, a loss of 60 seats compared to their performance at the previous election four years earlier. This was the worst showing for Labour since 1931.
Neil Kinnock was elected Leader with 71% of the Electoral College vote; runner-up Roy Hattersley stood simultaneously for Deputy Leader and was elected as Deputy.The election took place at Labour Party conference, with affiliated trade unions holding 40% of the votes, delegates from Constituency Labour Parties holding 30% of the votes, and the Parliamentary Labour Party holding the final 30% of the votes.1983 United Kingdom general election
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of the Labour Party in 1945.
Thatcher's first four years as Prime Minister had not been an easy time. Unemployment increased during the first three years of her premiership and the economy went through a recession. However, the British victory in the Falklands War led to a recovery of her personal popularity; the economy had also returned to growth. By the time Thatcher called the election in May 1983, the Conservatives were most people's firm favourites to win the general election. The Labour Party had been led by Michael Foot since the resignation of former Prime Minister James Callaghan in 1980. They had fared well in opinion polls and local elections during this time, but issues developed which would lead directly to their defeat. Labour adopted a platform that was considered more left-wing than usual. Several moderate Labour MPs had defected from the party to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP); they then formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the existing Liberal Party.
The opposition vote split almost evenly between the Alliance and Labour. With its worst electoral performance since 1918, the Labour vote fell by over 3 million votes from 1979 and this accounted for both a national swing of almost 4% towards the Conservatives and their larger parliamentary majority of 144 seats, even though the Conservatives' total vote fell by almost 700,000. This was the last general election where a governing party increased its number of seats until 2015.
The Alliance finished in third place but came within 700,000 votes of out-polling Labour. By gaining 25% of the popular vote, the Alliance won the largest such percentage for any third party since the 1923 general election. Despite this, they won only 23 seats, whereas Labour won 209. The Liberals argued that a proportional electoral system would have given them a more representative number of MPs. Changing the electoral system had been a long-running Liberal Party campaign plank and would later be adopted by the Liberal Democrats.
The election night was broadcast live on the BBC, and was presented by David Dimbleby, Sir Robin Day and Peter Snow. It was also broadcast on ITV, and presented by Alastair Burnet, Peter Sissons and Martyn Lewis.
Three future Leaders of the Labour Party (Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jeremy Corbyn) were first elected as Members of Parliament at this election—two of them would later hold the office of Prime Minister, whilst Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015. Former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Shirley Williams, Bill Rodgers, Joan Lestor and Tony Benn left Parliament as a result of this election, although Benn would return in a by-election the following year, and Lestor at the following general election.Edward Short, Baron Glenamara
Edward Watson Short, Baron Glenamara, (17 December 1912 – 4 May 2012) was a British Labour politician. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and served as a minister during the Labour Governments of Harold Wilson. Following the death of James Allason on 16 June 2011, Short was the oldest living former member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. He died just under a year later, aged 99. At the time of his death he was the oldest member of the House of Lords.Guilty Men
Guilty Men is a short book published in Great Britain in July 1940 that attacked British public figures for their failure to re-arm and their appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. It is the classic denunciation of appeasement and it shaped popular and scholarly thinking for 20 years.Treasurer of the Labour Party
The Treasurer of the Labour Party is a position on the National Executive Committee of the British Labour Party.
Although a post with little power, in the past, it was often hotly contested by people who later became big names in British politics: Arthur Greenwood beat Herbert Morrison in 1943, Hugh Gaitskell beat Aneurin Bevan in 1954, who in turn beat George Brown in 1956, while James Callaghan beat Michael Foot in 1967. Since the 1990s, the post has typically been held by a senior member of one of the larger Trade Unions.
Since the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) came into force, the Labour Party has had to register a Treasurer to the Electoral Commission, who becomes legally responsible for various returns to the Electoral Commission. It has been the practice of the NEC to register the full-time General Secretary as Treasurer under PPERA, rather than the elected volunteer Treasurer. This has created two Treasurer roles within the party, so to disambiguate these roles the elected Treasurer is often called Party Treasurer, and the PPERA Treasurer is often called Registered Treasurer. The party accounts are signed by both treasurers using these titles, though under PPERA only the General Secretary need sign them.
In 2008 the post was contested by the incumbent Jack Dromey and by human rights lawyer Mark McDonald, with Dromey being re-elected. In 2010, former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was defeated by Diana Holland.
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