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McCann was educated at elementary school and then at classes of the National Council of Labour Colleges and Workers' Educational Association. He became an engineer and diesel engine fitter and served with the Home Guard during World War II. He was elected a councillor on Eccles Borough Council in 1945 and was leader of the Labour Group. He was an Alderman in Eccles from 1952 and Mayor 1955–56. He served as chairman of the West Manchester Hospital Management Committee.
McCann first contested the Rochdale seat for Parliament in 1955 without success. He was first elected in a 1958 by-election following the death of the sitting Conservative MP Wentworth Schofield. He became an opposition whip in 1961 and in 1964 was appointed to the Government's Whips' Office as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, then in 1966 as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, returning to be a Lord of the Treasury 1967–69. He retained his seat until his death in 1972. In the consequent by-election in 1972, he was succeeded as MP by the Liberal candidate Cyril Smith, who had previously been a Labour mayor of the town.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Jack McCann
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Rochdale
| Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
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