Jim’ll fix it
Date published: 06 May 2011
VICTORY! Jim McMahon celebrates with his partner Charlene Duerden, left, and Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth
Youngest leader pledges to get down to business
LABOUR’S Jim McMahon became the youngest council leader in the country as his party swept back to power in Oldham on a miserable night for the Lib-Dems.
The new administration took 16 of the 20 seats up for grabs to seize control from the Lib-Dem/Tory coalition and mirror Labour’s national success.
It leaves Labour with 34 seats, the Lib-Dems down from 27 to 21 and the Tories remain on four seats as they retained their status quo, with one independent making up the 60 members.
Labour held 11 seats and gained five, including a Saddleworth ward for the first time in 37 years. The Lib-Dems suffered slashed majorities in the three seats they did hang on to and lost cabinet members Kay Knox and Brian Lord. The Tories lost one seat but gained another.
Labour leader Councillor Jim McMahon (30) led the way by retaining his Failsworth East seat with a large majority of 1,251 to become Oldham Council’s youngest ever leader.
He said he felt humble at creating history but amidst the jubilation warned of the tough challenge ahead.
He added: “I’m pleased with the result but we now have quite a daunting task in front of us to steer the council through the worst budget cuts in Oldham’s history.
“This is about changing Oldham as a place and if we don’t do that we have failed.”
His first task will be to attempt to reverse the Lib-Dems’ decision to close day-care centres, followed by an emergency budget.
Defeated Lib-Dems council leader Councillor Howard Sykes said: “It’s not good but we have not been wiped out.”