West Country Foots
Isaac Foot was born in Plymouth in 1880, the son of a carpenter. In 1904 he stood for election to Plymouth Borough Council as a representative for Charles Ward but was unsuccessful, as he was again in 1906 as the Liberal candidate for Compton Ward. Third time lucky, he was elected in 1907 to represent Greenbank Ward.
Isaac tried several times to become a local MP before winning in Bodmin in 1921. This was the first of a series of elections and he had to fight the same seat in 1923 and 1924, when he was again defeated. He won in 1929 and served until 1935, when he transferred his campaign to St Ives and then, in 1945, to Tavistock. He was appointed Minister for Mines in 1931-32 and was made a Privy Councillor in 1937. He held numerous other positions, including in the Methodist Church and temperance movement.
Isaac Foot died at his home in Callington, Cornwall, in 1960. He had five sons and two daughters including: Sir Hugh Foot, former Governor of Jamaica, and Governor of Cyprus; Mr Dingle Foot, QC, Liberal MP for Dundee and Labour MP for Ipswich; and Michael Foot.
photo: National Picture Gallery
Michael Foot was the first Labour MP for Plymouth Devonport in 1945 – a seat he held for ten years. After that he was elected MP for Ebbw Vale in South Wales. He was a leading figure in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and an influential political speaker and parliamentarian. He wrote widely and published biographies on many politicians of left and right.
Michael Foot became the Labour Leader during the Thatcher Government. Although the party went on to suffer one of its worst defeats in 1983, he remained one of the most respected politicians of the twentieth century.
In 2003 Foot, aged 90 and a passionate supporter of Plymouth Argyle Football Club,was registered as a player and given the shirt number, 90. This made him the oldest registered player in the history of football. He died in 2010.
Fred Cole, Dorset Agricultural Workers Union organiser shows Michael Foot around the Tolpuddle cottages