Isaac Foot (23 February 1880 – 13 December 1960) was a British politician and solicitor.
Isaac Foot was born in Plymouth, the son of a carpenter and undertaker, and educated at Plymouth Public School and the Hoe Grammar School, which he left at the age of 14. He then worked at the Admiralty in London, but returned to Plymouth to train as a solicitor. Foot qualified in 1902, and in 1903, with his friend Edgar Bowden, he set up the law firm Foot and Bowden, which as Foot-Anstey still exists.
He became a member of the Liberal Party, and in 1907 was elected to Plymouth City Council, which he remained a member of for twenty years, serving as Deputy Mayor in 1920. As Deputy Mayor he represented Plymouth in the United States for the celebrations of the Mayflower's tercentenary.
Foot first stood for parliament in Totnes in January 1910, losing to the sitting Liberal Unionist, F. B. Mildmay He then stood twice for Bodmin, but was unsuccessful. At Plymouth Sutton in the by-election of November 1919 he was beaten by Nancy Astor, who became the first woman MP in Britain and a lifelong friend of Foot.
Foot was elected as Member of Parliament for Bodmin at a by-election in February 1922, retaining his seat in the general elections of 1922 and 1923. He lost his seat in October 1924 but regained it in the 1929 General Election, when the Liberals took all five Cornish seats. He held the seat until he lost again in November 1935.
Foot served on the Round Table Conference on India in 1930–31 and on Burma in 1931 and was also on the Joint Select Committee on India. His championing of the poor of the subcontinent earnt him the sobriquet of "the member for the Depressed Classes".
Foot served as Vice President of the Methodist Conference (1937–38) and as President of the Liberal Party (1947).
In 1945 he was chosen unanimously as Lord Mayor of Plymouth, despite not being a member of the council. Foot also served as Deputy-Chairman of the Cornwall Quarter Sessions in 1945, and was Chairman from 1953 to 1955, a distinction rarely granted to a solicitor.
Foot also built up a library of over 70,000 books at his home near Callington and would wake at five in the morning in order to read them. In old age he taught himself Greek, so as to read the New Testament in the original.
Foot was married to Eva Mackintosh, daughter of Angus Mackintosh.
Four of the Foots' sons followed their father into public life.
- Sir Dingle Foot became a Liberal, later Labour, Member of Parliament and solicitor-general.
- Hugh Foot, Baron Caradon was a senior diplomat and member of the House of Lords.
- John Foot, Baron Foot stood as a Liberal on several occasions for Parliament and became Baron Foot.
- Michael Foot became a major socialist intellectual, Member of Parliament and leader of the Labour Party (1980–83).
The Foots also had two daughters, Margaret and Jennifer, and one other son, Christopher, who went into the family law practice. Hugh's son, Paul Foot, was a prominent campaigning journalist and political activist, being a member of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
- Foot, John (1998). "Isaac Foot". In Duncan Brack. Dictionary of Liberal Biography. Malcolm Baines, Katie Hall, Graham Lippiatt, Tony Little, Mark Pack, Geoffrey Sell, Jen Tankard (1st ed. ed.). Artillery Row, London: Politico's Publishing. pp. 109–112. ISBN 1-902301-09-9.
- History of Foot-Anstey
- Stanley Goodman, ‘Foot, Isaac (1880–1960)’, rev. Mark Pottle, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2007 accessed 13 April 2008
- The Liberal Magazine, 1936
- Portraits of Sir Isaac Foot at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Isaac Foot
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Bodmin
|Member of Parliament for Bodmin
John Rankin Rathbone
|Party political offices|
|President of the Liberal Party