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Michael Foot

Foot, Michael, 1913–2010, British politician. He joined the Labour party in the 1930s, entered Parliament in 1945, and served there until 1992. An superb debater and orator, he became an eloquent spokesperson for Labour's radical left wing. Editor of the party organ, the Tribune, Foot served as secretary of state for employment (1974–75) and as leader of the House of Commons (1976–79). He was also a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He succeeded James Callaghan as Labour party leader (1980–83). Foot was unsuccessful in his attempt to maintain the party's traditional policies in the face of opposition from more conservative members, who broke away and formed (1981) the centrist Social Democratic party, and in 1983 he led the Labour party to one of its worst electoral defeats. He wrote a number of books, notably biographies of Aneurin Bevan, Harold Wilson, H. G. Wells, and Lord Byron.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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