Guy Opperman

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Guy Opperman
MP
Guy Opperman.jpg
Opperman (left) in 2013
Member of Parliament
for Hexham
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Peter Atkinson
Majority 5,788 (13.3%)
Personal details
Born (1965-05-18) 18 May 1965 (age 49)[1]
Marlborough, Wiltshire, England[2]
Nationality British
Political party Conservatives
Alma mater University of Buckingham
Website guyopperman.blogspot.com

Guy Thomas Opperman[2] (born 18 May 1965) is a British Conservative Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hexham.[3] He is a well-known supporter of the Living Wage.[4]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Harrow School

Opperman was educated at Harrow School and has an honours degree in law from the University of Buckingham and a first class diploma from the University of Lille, France.[5]

Opperman was called to the bar in 1989. He spent 20 years as a barrister — 15 years of which were spent predominantly at the criminal bar. Opperman prosecuted and defended in a number of murder and rape trials, as well as in numerous Crown Court trials.

While a barrister, he did many years of pro bono work with the Western Circuit Free Representation Unit and the Bar Pro Bono Unit, providing free legal assistance in hundreds of cases on behalf of Victim Support and Citizens Advice Bureau. The Times named him "Lawyer of the Week" in 2007 and was awarded the Bar Pro Bono Award by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, for his voluntary work on behalf of victims in Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals. In 2009 the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, presented him with a Pro Bono Hero award in the House of Commons for his work on preventing hospital closures. He is now a "door tenant" at 3PB and is no longer in active practice at the Bar having committed to being a full-time Member of Parliament.[6]

Opperman was a director of his family engineering business until 2009.[citation needed]

Opperman is an amateur jockey and rode his first winner in 1985. He continues to ride and has won a number of point-to-point horse races, including at Downhills, Corbridge just after his selection as the Conservative Party Candidate for Hexham in 2009.[7]

Opperman previously stood for election to Parliament in Swindon North in 1997 and for Caernarfon in 2005. He was a Councillor in Kennet from 1995 to 1999.[8]

Charity Work[edit]

Opperman has raised almost £10,000 for charity including over £4000 in 2011 for the National Brain Appeal at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery which he credits with saving his life after suffering from a brain tumour.[9] In 2012 Guy walked 280 miles from Sheffield to Scotland raising £2500 for the Great North Air Ambulance.[10]

Opperman runs a series of social action projects in the North East. In 2010 he established a work experience scheme based in his Hexham office to give young people an insight into politics and experience in work. Since its inception almost 100 local young people have taken part in the programme. During Christmas 2011 he collected presents for soldiers serving abroad in Afghanistan. In 2012 Guy coordinated the collection of more than 300 toys for disadvantaged children in north east England as part of the Northumberland Conservatives' Christmas appeal, "Buy One More Toy".

Parliamentary career[edit]

Opperman first got interested in national politics after giving up his time as a barrister for free to lead a campaign to oppose the closure of the NHS's Savernake Hospital at Marlborough, which he credited with saving his mother's life from cancer.[11]

Despite not being from Northumberland, Opperman was elected at the 2010 General Election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hexham.

Opperman was one of the first MPs in the United Kingdom to employ an apprentice. Opperman's apprentice, Jade, from Prudhoe, completed her Business and Administration Apprenticeship in 2012. She has since secured a full-time position with the MP in his Hexham office.[12]

In September 2012 Opperman was appointed as Private Parliamentary Secretary (PPS) to Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, in the Home Office.[13]

Opperman has previously described himself as "rather on the left" of the Conservative Party and has previously supported calls for a mansion tax, opposed regional pay, supported for the Living Wage, supported regional banks and industrial activism but also called for his party to do more to show it supports "the hard working people in our public sector." In 2012 New Statesman magazine summarised his positions on low wages, corporate responsibility and apprenticeships in an article called "Meet the Tories the left should be frightened of."[14] There have apparently been invitations from senior Labour figures for Opperman to defect to the Labour Party due to his centre-left stance on many issues.

According to the website "They Work For You" Opperman has spoken in 75 debates in the last year — well above average amongst MPs. He has received answers to 43 written questions in the last year — above average amongst MPs and voted in 73.38% of votes in this Parliament with this Party. Opperman's interests in Parliament include fuel poverty, vocational education, the future of the Falklands Islands, assisted dying and prison reform.[15]

On 8 August 2013 Mr Opperman declared his support for the Living Wage in an article for the New Statesman.[16] In this article he asked "How and why did we let it become acceptable for a full-time job not to pay enough to live on?" He is the first Conservative MP to publicly declare his support for the Living Wage since David Cameron in May 2010.

Brain tumour[edit]

In April 2011, Opperman was diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering from headaches whilst at work in Parliament. He was rushed to hospital on the advice of his fellow Conservative MP and doctor, Daniel Poulter, and underwent emergency surgery. He recovered fully after several months. Opperman has written about his experience, recording his "incredible debt" to the NHS and is a leading champion of the National Health Service in Parliament.[17]

Author and blogger[edit]

In October 2012 Opperman had his first book published, Doing Time, an examination of the prison service and offender rehabilitation in the United Kingdom. In it he offers a consideration of re-offending, prisoner training, drug rehabilitation, prison management and payment by results in the prison system.[18]

Opperman is a board member of the High Pay Centre, and has co-authored an essay with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady entitled "Better Business: Moral Matters". In the essay he contrasts community-focused businesses in his own Northumberland constituency with the lack of responsibility demonstrated by the banking sector.[19]

Opperman's blog was awarded a "Top MP's Blog" award by Total Politics magazine in 2010: to date he continues to be one of Westminster's most prolific bloggers.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Guy Opperman MP". Democracy Live. BBC Online. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Guy Opperman", Who's Who, A & C Black, (subscription required (help)) 
  3. ^ "Election 2010: Hexham Results". Hexham Courant (CN Group). Retrieved 7 May 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Tory MP backs living wage campaign". AOL. 8 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Guy Opperman". Conservative Party Profile. Conservative Party. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Guy Opperman". Members. 3PB Barristers. 
  7. ^ "Tyndale Point to Point". Blogspot. 1 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "Guy Opperman". The Daily Telegraph (London). [dead link]
  9. ^ "Guy Opperman MP". Our Heroes. The National Brain Appeal. 
  10. ^ "Guy's Page". Just Giving. 27 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Queen on the application of Val Compton v Wiltshire Primary Care Trust". England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions. BAILII. 22 April 2008. 
  12. ^ "Prudhoe teenager Jade gets apprenticeship with MP". The Journal (Trinity Mirror). 9 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "Full list of Conservative ministerial aides revealed". ITV. 12 September 2012. 
  14. ^ Davis, Rowenna (9 October 2012). "Meet the Tories the left should be frightened of". New Statesman. 
  15. ^ "Guy Opperman". TheyWorkForYou. mySociety. 
  16. ^ Opperman, Guy (13 August 2013). "Guy Opperman: the Conservative case for a living wage". New Statesman. 
  17. ^ Opperman, Guy (10 September 2011). "MP Guy Opperman recalls how he owes the NHS his life after being diagnosed with a brain tumour". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). 
  18. ^ Opperman, Guy. Doing Time – Prisons in the 21st Century. Surbiton: Bretwalda Books. ISBN 1909099031. 
  19. ^ "Better Business: Morals Matter – A collection of essays about business ethics". High Pay Centre. 
  20. ^ "Top 30". Blogspot. 4 September 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Peter Atkinson
Member of Parliament for Hexham
2010–present
Incumbent