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Old 03-03-2010, 08:54 PM
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Unhappy Leader of Maggie Thatchers Opposition Party has died



Tributes have flooded in from all sides of politics for former Labour leader Michael Foot, who has died at the age of 96.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed Mr Foot as "a man of deep principle and passionate idealism" who fought all his life for his beliefs and for the Labour Party.

And Mr Foot's former adversary Baroness Thatcher, who faced him in many fiery exchanges over the despatch box in the House of Commons, described him as "a great Parliamentarian and a man of high principles".

His great-nephew, the historian John Foot, said that he died "peacefully" at his home in Hampstead, north London. He had been ill for some time and had been receiving 24-hour care.

Mr Foot said the family had been surprised and moved by the tributes from political allies and opponents alike.

"It's been very moving," he said. "We expected a big outpouring of emotion but it's been more than we could have imagined. It's been very uplifting."

Born into a prominent Liberal family, Michael Foot was active in Labour politics from the 1930s, campaigning against appeasement of Hitler as a radical journalist for the New Statesman and Tribune magazine.

He was selected by Lord Beaverbrook as editor of the Evening Standard and entered Parliament in 1945, becoming a hero of the left, a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a thorn in the side of successive Labour leaders.

Universally respected as a brilliant orator and eminent journalist and historian, opinions were more divided on his political beliefs.

He won the leadership race against Denis Healey in 1980 as the candidate of the left, and led Labour through its blackest period, as its survival was threatened by vicious infighting and the defection of senior figures to found the Social Democratic Party.
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:58 PM
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