Veteran Oldham MP Michael Meacher joins likes of Winston Churchill and is awarded Freedom of the Borough

By Matt Scrafton

A veteran Oldham MP was honoured with the Freeman of the Borough in recognition of his outstanding service over 43 years to the local community.

Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton since 1997, was awarded the title at a council meeting on Wednesday night.

The 73-year-old also served as MP for Oldham West, first being elected in 1970 – while also spending a total of 29 years on Labour’s front bench.

Mr Meacher said: “I’m extremely pleased, it’s a very nice gesture by colleagues and friends in Oldham.

The honour is the highest a council can bestow, and he becomes only the 23rd Freeman since 1909.

He joins the likes of Winston Churchill and Dame Eva Turner on the list of those awarded the honour in Oldham.

He joked: “I’ll definitely be looking into the details to see if I still have grazing rights in the town!”

The Hertfordshire-born politician served as a junior minister for Harold Wilson, before serving in Labour governments under Jim Callaghan and Tony Blair.

Mr Meacher was also a member of the shadow cabinet under the then leader of the opposition, Neil Kinnock.

Oldham Council say he will receive the accolade in July.

Picture courtesy of Rude Cech, via Flickr, with thanks.

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