He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolton West from 1964 to 1970, when he was beaten by the Conservative Robert Redmond by 1,244 votes. He was re-elected for Widnes from a 1971 by-election until 1983, and for Halton from 1983 until 1997.
Oakes served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary from 1966, and in the government of Harold Wilson as a junior minister and as a Minister of State under James Callaghan. He was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1979. He left the Opposition front bench in 1983.
He was one of the MPs approached in the 1994 Cash-for-Questions affair, to which he responded "That is not how we do things here".
He died of cancer on 15 August 2005 at the age of 74.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Bolton West
|Member of Parliament for Widnes
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Halton
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