Guto Bebb

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Guto Bebb
Member of Parliament
for Aberconwy
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 3,999
Personal details
Born (1968-10-09) 9 October 1968 (age 47)
Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales
Nationality Welsh
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Esyllt Bebb
Children Five
Alma mater University of Aberystwyth
Occupation Business development director

Guto ap Owain Bebb[1] (born 9 October 1968) is a Welsh Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aberconwy. He was first elected in the 2010 general election having previously contested elections to both the Welsh Assembly and the House of Commons, and is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel group.

Early life[edit]

Bebb was born in Wrexham in 1968 to a family who originated from Bangor and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and was a student at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon. He graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1990 with a BA in history. He subsequently ran an economic development consultancy and also worked as the business development director of Innovas Wales.[2] He was also a partner in his wife's bookshop.

Political career[edit]

Bebb is a former Plaid Cymru activist and was chair of the party in Caernarfon.[3] He defected to the Conservatives because of his Eurosceptic views.

Bebb first stood for the Conservatives in 2002 when he contested the safe Labour seat of Ogmore in 2002 by-election caused by the death of the veteran MP Sir Raymond Powell. He finished in fourth place many votes behind the victor, Huw Irranca-Davies. He stood again in the 2003 Welsh Assembly election in which he was a candidate in the now-defunct constituency of Conwy. He came third, behind Labour and Plaid Cymru.

At the 2005 general election he stood again in Conwy, this time coming second behind Labour. In the 2010 general election, boundary changes led to the creation of a new constituency called Aberconwy, based on the former Conwy. Bebb was selected as the Conservative candidate for this new seat. The Conservatives won the seat and Bebb was returned as the MP for Aberconwy with a majority of 3,398 or 11.3%.

Bebb has been part of a number of delegations of the Conservative Friends of Israel group,[4] including during the Operation Defensive Shield conflict when he visited for an Israeli military briefing on the Iron Dome defence system.[5]

Following a complaint by a constituent, in January 2012, Bebb raised the issue of the sale of Interest Rate Swap Agreements (“IRSAs") in Parliament. He asked the Leader of the House for a debate on the potential mis-selling of these complex interest rate hedging products ("Interest Rate Hedging Products") by UK high street banks to over 40,000 Small and Medium Sized Businesses (“SMEs”) throughout the UK. He also asked the Financial Services Authority (“the FSA”) to look at this issue urgently and in detail. After Bebb had raised the issue in Parliament, the FSA announced that they would carry out an investigation into the way these products had been sold.

On 21 June 2012, Bebb called a backbench business debate in the House of Commons to discuss the IRSA/IRHP mis-selling issue.After this debate, Bebb wrote to all MPs who had shown an interest in this subject inviting them to join an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The purpose of this APPG was to seek meaningful redress for those small and medium sized UK businesses that had been affected by the mis-selling of interest rate swaps and to pursue this on a cross-party basis. There are currently over 100 cross party MPs on the APPG which Bebb still Chairs.[6]

On 29 June 2012, the FSA reported that it had investigated the sale of IRSA/IRHPs to SMEs and had found evidence that over 90% of these sales had been mis-sales and that substantial damage had resulted to those SMEs mis-sold these products. The FSA announced that it had agreed with the four largest high street banks that a review and redress scheme would be put in place. This agreement was subsequently extended to a further seven banks.[7]

As a result of slow progress and poor customer outcomes from the bank led FSA IRHP Review, Bebb subsequently called and led two further backbench debates on the issue – the last in December 2014 when MPs across the house criticised the poor performance of the now Financial Conduct Authority ("the FCA" which had subsequently replaced the FSA) IRHP Review scheme.[8]

Following hearings with the FCA and complaints from the APPG, victim groups such as Bully Banks ( ), individual victims and various industry experts, The Treasury Select Committee ("the TSC"), on 10 March 2015, published a report expressing concerns about the performance of the FCA’s IRHP Redress Scheme and it called for an independently monitored review of the Scheme to.[9] This call for an independent review of the FCA's IRHP Scheme was immediately backed by the then Financial Secretary to the UK Treasury, Andrea Leadsom.[10] The FCA has not responded yet to either the TSC or the Treasury.

In 2014, Bebb became embroiled in a spat with an Aberconwy constituent after an exchange on Twitter, leading to heavy criticism in the media[11] regarding his negative comments about Asperger's Syndrome.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Bebb's native language is Welsh. He is married to Esyllt Bebb, and they have five children.

He is the grandson of Ambrose Bebb, co-founder of Plaid Cymru.[3]

He is an avid collector of vinyl records.


External links[edit]

Offices held[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Aberconwy