|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions and Financial Inclusion|
|Assumed office |
14 June 2017
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Richard Harrington|
|Lord Commissioner of the Treasury|
17 July 2016 – 14 June 2017
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||John Penrose|
|Succeeded by||Heather Wheeler|
|Member of Parliament |
|Assumed office |
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Peter Atkinson|
|Born||18 May 1965|
Marlborough, Wiltshire, England
|Alma mater||University of Buckingham |
University of Lille
He has been the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions and Financial Inclusion at the Department for Work and Pensions since June 2017.
Early life, education and career
Opperman was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire and was educated at Harrow School, an independent all-boys boarding school. Opperman has a degree in law from the University of Buckingham and a first-class diploma from the University of Lille, in France.
Opperman was called to the bar in 1989. He spent 20 years as a barrister of which 15 years were spent predominantly at the criminal bar. Opperman prosecuted and defended in a number of murder and rape 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.
Opperman has previously described himself as "rather on the left" of the Conservative Party and has previously opposed regional pay but supported the Living Wage, regional banks, and industrial activism. He called for his party to do more to show it supports "the hard working people in our public sector". In 2012, the 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".
In 2015, Opperman was named by the IPSA for an outstanding £161 in expenses due back. However, the IPSA subsequently apologised due to an error, stating; ''We have failed you and the public'' in a letter to Opperman.
In 2016, for the sixth successive year Opperman 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".
Opperman was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions on 14 June 2017. Footage from 2013 was uncovered showing him stating that he understood what it was like to live on a zero-hours contract because he once worked as a £250-per-hour barrister. Weeks later, in response to the group Women Against State Pension Inequality, he was quoted as saying that older women who face cuts to their state pension could take up apprenticeships as a route to re-employment.
Opperman faced criticism[by whom?] in October 2017 for pulling out of a pensions fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in an apparent attempt to avoid a nearby protest staged by Women Against State Pension Inequality.
At a hustings event for the 2019 election Opperman was asked how people using food banks could be helped. He said the Conservatives would raise the minimum wage and the tax threshold. He also suggested that people "must get better at handling money".
Opperman has served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions since June 2017. His brief includes pensions and financial inclusion.
In October 2019, as Pensions Minister Opperman introduced new Environmental, Social and Governance regulations (ESG). These required a pension fund to update its statement of investment principles and broadly take into account ESG factors when considering its strategic approach to investment. In an article written for the Times, Opperman argued that, 'Pensions should be harnessed to fight the climate emergency'.
In a speech at the Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) investment conference in March 2020, Opperman announced the public consultation on new non-statutory guidance for trustees of occupational pensions schemes on the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
In October 2020, the Pensions Schemes Bill returned to the House of Commons for Second Reading. Opperman said the Pension Schemes Bill will make pensions 'safer, better and greener'. The Bill seeks to make pensions safer by giving the pension regulator more powers to tackle pension scams, better by introducing a pension dashboard and greener by going further on climate change disclosure. In November 2020, the Bill passed the House of Commons at Third Reading and Report Stage.
Opperman supports the right to choose and does not support any changes to the present law.
Opperman has spoken in favour of changing the law on assisted dying, and spoke of his anger in 2015 at the defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill. He argued that: 'This Bill does not threaten the lives of vulnerable people. It will not lead to more deaths, but to less suffering'.
Opperman supports action to tackle climate change.
Opperman led the campaign opposing Whittonstall and Halton Lea Gate open cast coal mines in his constituency. He was also strongly opposed to the plans of a new open cast mine at Dewley Hill, describing the plans as a 'climate change disaster waiting to happen'.
Since being elected in 2010, Opperman campaigned against payday lenders. He came together with a group of Northumbrian locals and church leaders to set up the Northumberland Community Bank. The bank was launched in 2015 by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The community bank is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, offers secure savings and loan facilities as an alternative to high cost credit – with any surplus being used to enable and grow services in Northumberland.
Great North Air Ambulance Service
Opperman campaigned and introduced a motion in the House of Commons calling for a review in the fuel duty paid by the Great North Air Ambulance Service. This resulted in the government exempting emergency services from aviation fuel duty in the 2014 Budget. The measure saved the Great North Air Ambulance up to £25,000 per year. In 2012, Opperman walked from Sheffield to Scotland and raised £2,079 for the Great North Air Ambulance service.
On 8 August 2013, Opperman declared his support for the Living Wage in an article for the New Statesman. 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?".
In 2014, Opperman travelled to Syria, to see the impact of humanitarian aid in refugee camps on the Turkey – Syria border. He called for action for further support to children in refugee camps. Subsequently, Opperman held a specific debate in parliament on the plight of Syria Refugees and UN Resolution 2139 relating to the provision of aid in Syria itself.
Guy Opperman has raised almost £10,000 for charity including over £4,000 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. He and Labour MP Paul Blomfield, who also had a brain tumour in 2011, walked the first section of the Pennine Way in 2012 to raise money for Headway UK. In 2012, Opperman walked 280 miles from Sheffield to Scotland raising £2,500 for the Great North Air Ambulance. In 2016, Opperman was shown to be tumour free in a scan 5 years since his original diagnosis.
Opperman was a director of his family engineering business until 2009. On 2 June 2017, during his general election campaign, Guy married his partner Flora. In June 2020 the couple had twin boys who died shortly after birth.
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.
Author, blogger and podcast host
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.
Opperman is a member of the Advisory Board 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-focussed businesses in his Northumberland seat with the lack of responsibility demonstrated by the banking sector.
Opperman co-authored the report, ‘All Hands on Deck’ with Laura Farris for the Centre for Policy Studies in November 2018. The report details how businesses and employers can do more to close Britain's productivity gap by increasing flexible working.
In February 2020, Opperman launched a podcast Beyond the Bubble. The podcast aims to look at politics from outside the traditional 'Westminster bubble,' by talking to MPs and key figures. Guests have included new Conservative MP's Dehenna Davison, Sarah Atherton and Jacob Young as well as comedian and former Labour advisor Matt Forde.
- "Guy Opperman MP". Democracy Live. BBC Online. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Guy Opperman", Who's Who, A & C Black
- "Election 2010: Hexham Results". Hexham Courant. CN Group. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Guy Opperman". Conservative Party Profile. Conservative Party. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Guy Opperman MP". ResPublica. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- "Guy Opperman". Members. 3PB Barristers. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016.
- Tsang, Linda. "Lawyer of the Week: Guy Opperman". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- "About Guy". Guy Opperman. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- "Guy Opperman". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 May 2010.
- "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. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Prudhoe teenager Jade gets apprenticeship with MP". The Journal. Trinity Mirror. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Full list of Conservative ministerial aides revealed". ITV. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Davis, Rowenna (9 October 2012). "Meet the Tories the left should be frightened of". New Statesman. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Walker, Jonathan (11 September 2015). "Hexham MP accused of owing taxpayers £161 says watchdog got its facts wrong". nechronicle. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- "Hexham's MP launches Christmas toy appeal". Hexham Courant. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- "Guy Opperman MP". Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Chapman, Ben (16 June 2017). "Tory minister says he understands life on zero-hours contracts because he used to be £250-an-hour barrister". The Independent. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Syal, Rajeev (5 July 2017). "Minister suggests women hit by pension age change 'take up apprenticeships'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Gilbert, Jack (4 October 2017). "Pensions minister dodges women's event amid Waspi protests". Citywire. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Tory general election candidate claims food bank users need to 'get better at handling money". 29 November 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
- "To help ease continuous food bank use "we must get better at handling money"". 29 November 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
- Opperman, Guy (7 July 2020). "Climate change could be the greatest commercial opportunity of our time". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Opperman, Guy. "Pensions should be harnessed to fight the climate emergency". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "TPR statement on climate risk guide consultation". The Pensions Regulator. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Rust, Susanna. "Opperman sets out TCFD and DC consolidation, fee consultation plans". IPE. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Guy Opperman: We are making your pension safer, better and greener. Here's how". Conservative Home. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
- Opperman, Guy (18 December 2020). "Hansard". Hansard.
- Evans, Rebekah (7 October 2020). "Pension warning: Government poised to crack down on scams through new transfer proposals". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
- Opperman, Guy. "Guy Opperman: We want pensions to go green — but I won't force them to ditch big oil". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
- "Guy Opperman: Dashboards and consolidation go hand-in-hand". www.professionalpensions.com. 4 December 2020. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
- "Pension Schemes Bill [HL] 2019-21 — UK Parliament". services.parliament.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
- "Campaigns and EDMs". Guy Opperman. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "MP's anger at defeat of 'assisted dying' Bill". Hexham Courant. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Graham, Hannah (17 April 2019). "MP demands end to opencast mine plans for Newcastle outskirts". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Thick, Kate (22 November 2015). "The Northumberland-based community bank that is the antidote to the careless giants". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Tighe, Chris (6 November 2015). "Tynedale Community Bank seeks to challenge big lenders". www.ft.com. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Archbishop of York opens Northumberland community bank". ITV News. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Northumberland Community Bank for Loans, Savings & Payroll". Northumberland Community Bank. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Lognonne, Ruth (6 April 2014). "Boost for Great North Air Ambulance as fuel duty scrapped after campaign". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
- "Guy's page". JustGiving. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
- Opperman, Guy (13 August 2013). "Guy Opperman: the Conservative case for a living wage". New Statesman. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "Gay marriage: MPs vote in favour of same-sex weddings: as it happened". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill - Hansard". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Guy Opperman MP, Hexham". TheyWorkForYou. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Walker, Jonathan (10 May 2016). "Hexham MP defends Government position on letting child refugees into the UK". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Syrian Refugees (Support and Aid) - Hansard". hansard.parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- Walker, Jonathan (13 September 2014). "Hexham MP Guy Opperman in plea to England: Go to Scotland and campaign!". ChronicleLive. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Guy Opperman MP". Our Heroes. The National Brain Appeal.
- "Guy's Page". Just Giving. 27 July 2012.
- Muncaster, Michael (30 December 2016). "North East MP opens up about brain tumour battle". nechronicle. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- "Guy Opperman MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Walker, Jonathan (6 June 2017). "Would-be MP swaps honeymoon for the campaign trail after wedding clash". nechronicle. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
- "MP 'devastated' at death of newborn twin sons". BBC News. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
- "Tyndale Point to Point". Blogspot. 1 March 2009.
- "Top 30". Blogspot. 4 September 2010.
- Opperman, Guy (October 2012). Doing Time – Prisons in the 21st Century. Surbiton: Bretwalda Books. ISBN 978-1909099036.
- "Better Business: Morals Matter – A collection of essays about business ethics". High Pay Centre.
- "All Hands on Deck". www.cps.org.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
- "Beyond the Bubble". Beyond the Bubble. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- "Listen Now". Beyond the Bubble. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- Guy Opperman MP official website
- "Guy Opperman". Conservative Party Profile. Conservative Party. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "Guy Opperman". Members. 3PB Barristers.
- Hexham Conservative Association
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Hexham