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Collection highlights: Michael Foot’s donkey jacket

Michael Foot's donkey jacket

Michael Foot at the CenotaphMichael Foot was leader of the Labour Party from 1980-1983. He beat Denis Healey to become leader aged 67, following the 1979 defeat by Margaret Thatcher. During his time in office the press regularly criticised Foot, never more so than when he caused controversy by wearing this ‘donkey jacket’ to the Cenotaph in 1981 for Remembrance Sunday. Some thought wearing such a jacket on a solemn occasion was inappropriate. One Labour MP stated that Foot looked like an ‘out of work navvy’. In reality the coat is not a donkey jacket at all, but an overcoat bought from Harrods by Foot’s wife.

The ‘donkey jacket’ was donated to the People’s History Museum in July 2003 to be used in the changing exhibition Celebrity and has since been on display in our main galleries.

In this video, you can watch Foot reflecting on the jacket.