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School support worker wins by-election for Labour
Wednesday 5th December 2018 @ 14:10 by Lauren Entwistle

A long-serving educational support worker has joined her husband on the seats of the council chamber after winning an Oldham by-election.

By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter.

Liz Jacques, the Labour party candidate, was declared the victor in the Failsworth East by-election – winning the seat recently vacated by Cherryl Brock.

She beat her closest contender, Antony Cahill representing the Conservatives, by more than double the vote – with 677 to 336 votes.

Newly elected Councillor Jacques has worked in education for 15 years as a member of support staff helping the most challenging pupils and those with additional needs at secondary schools across Greater Manchester.

The mum-of-four began her career at what was then Grange School in Oldham, and also worked at the Radclyffe School in Chadderton.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that as a councillor she hopes to promote the work of local clubs and voluntary groups, and also tackle social isolation among older people, which she encountered on the doorstep.

“One man told me he didn’t have a postal vote because if he went to the polling station that meant he got to talk with someone that day,” she said.

“I think it’s just spending more time and getting to know where we can signpost people.

“It’s great to actually be part of that democratic process, I feel very privileged that the electorate voted me to be part of that.”

The 54-year-old is married to cabinet member for education and former headteacher, Councillor Paul Jacques, and has lived in Failsworth for nearly two decades.

She said: “You have shared values as a couples and you tend to go to the same things, we’re both members of Labour, and both went to the same meetings.

“We don’t always see eye to eye on the same things though.

“I wanted to do it for myself, although I was quite aware of the challenges and difficulties of doing it because you have lived with someone and seen how dedicated you have to be.

“I went into being a councillor with my eyes open.”

She added: “I think Failsworth is an absolutely great place to live, I have lived here for near 20 years and I don’t think I’d like to move anywhere else.”

Independent candidate Warren Bates polled 94, Paul Goldring won 32 votes for UKIP and 18 votes were cast for Stephen Barrow, representing the Liberal Democrats.

The turnout for the November 29 by-election was just 15pc.

And the result means the political balance on Oldham council remains the same; with 45 Labour councillors, eight Liberal Democrats representatives, four Conservatives and three Independent councillors.