Paul Foot, campaigning journalist and socialist to the end, dies aged 66
Monday 19 July 2004
Paul Foot, the campaigning
Private Eye journalist and nephew of the former Labour leader Michael Foot, has died. He was 66.
Paul Foot, the campaigning Private Eye journalist and nephew of the former Labour leader Michael Foot, has died. He was 66.
Mr Foot suffered a suspected heart attack at Stansted airport on his way to Ireland with his partner, Clare, and nine-year-old daughter, Kate.
He was renowned for his dogged investigative journalism and was voted Campaigning Journalist of the Decade in the What The Papers Say awards four years ago.
Lindsey German, who has known Mr Foot for more than 30 years after meeting him at the Socialist Review, said she was "very, very sad" to hear of his death. Ms German, convener of the Stop the War Coalition, said: "Paul had a huge amount still to contribute to politics and to journalism and that has now been lost to us. It is a tragedy."
She added that his next book on democracy and the campaign for the vote was due for publication shortly.
Mr Foot met his future Private Eye co-founders - Richard Ingrams, Christopher Booker and Willie Rushton - half a century ago while at Shrewsbury School where they worked on a satirical version of the school magazine.
A period of National Service followed where he secured a relatively safe posting as second lieutenant in the West Indies and in autumn 1958, Mr Foot and Mr Ingrams were reunited at University College, Oxford, where they ran the satirical university magazine Mesopotamia with Peter Usborne and John Wells.
After leaving Oxford, the group set up Private Eye and the first edition was published on 25 October 1961. Notable stories broken by Private Eye in the early years included BP sanctions-busting in Rhodesia; the Heath government's talks with the IRA; the 1971 payola scandal, in which DJs were taking kickbacks to play records; and the Poulson scandal, which led to the resignation of the Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling. Most of these were down to Mr Foot.
After joining Socialist Worker in 1972, Mr Foot moved to the Daily Mirror in 1980 where he worked for 13 years until forced out when his editor refused to print articles criticising the newspaper's management. Mr Foot then returned to the Eye. His books include Who Killed Hanratty? and Murder At The Farm: Who Killed Carl Bridgewater?
In 1999, it was discovered that he had a thoracic aortic aneurysm after suffering sudden chest pain. It took five weeks for him to recover consciousness.
In 2002, he came third in the Hackney borough mayoral race running as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance - a left-wing umbrella group that represents groups including the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Revolutionary Democratic Group.
As well as his partner and their daughter, he leaves two sons, John and Matt, from his first marriage to Monica and another son, Tom, from his marriage to Rose.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...