Guy Thomas Opperman
Member of Parliament for Hexham since 2010
DOB: 18th May 1965
Early life, education and career:
- Guy has an honours degree in Law from the University of Buckingham;
- Guy was awarded and a first class diploma from the University of Lille, France.
Guy the jockey:
- Guy is an amateur jockey and rode his first winner in 1985.
- He continues to ride and has previously won a number of Point to Point races, including at Downhills, Corbridge just after his selection as the Conservative Party Candidate for Hexham in 2009.
Guy the barrister:
- Guy was called to the Bar in 1989 and spent 20 years as a barrister before retiring in order to represent Hexham as their Member of Parliament;
- Guy spent 15 of those years predominantly at the criminal bar;
- He prosecuted and defended in a number of murder and rape trials, as well as in numerous Crown Court trials.
- Guy gave free legal assistance to those unable to otherwise afford a barrister in hundreds of cases on behalf of Victim Support and the Citizens Advice Bureau working with the Western Circuit Free Representation Unit and the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
- Guy was named "Lawyer of the Week" by The Times 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.
- Guy 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.
Guy also served as a Director of his family engineering business until 2009.
Social Action and Charity Work:
Guy has consistently put his body to the test and made great efforts in order to support the fantastic work of numerous charities, raising over £10,000. To detail a few examples of this:
- In 2012, Guy walked 280 miles from Sheffield to Scotland raising £2500 for the Great North Air Ambulance.
- In 2011, Guy raised £4000 for the National Brain Appeal at the National Neurological Hospital which he credits with saving his life after suffering from a Brain Tumour.
Guy also runs a series of Social Action projects in the North East:
- In 2012, he coordinated the collection of over 300 toys for disadvantaged children in the North East as part of the Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal, 'Buy One More Toy’.
- In 2011, over Christmas, Guy collected presents for soldiers serving abroad in Afghanistan to let them know they have the support of the community, and congratulate their brave efforts.
- In 2010, Guy 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.
Member of Parliament for Hexham:
Guy first got interested in national politics after giving up his time as a barrister for free to lead a campaign to fight the closure of Savernake NHS Hospital, which he credited with saving his mother's life from cancer.
Guy was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hexham with an increased share of the vote and a Majority of 5788.
Guy was one of the first MP's in the United Kingdom to employ an apprentice. Guy'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 busy Hexham office.
In September 2012 Guy was appointed as Private Parliamentary Secretary (PPS) to Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, in the Home Office.
Guy has previously described himself as 'rather on the left' of the Conservative Party and has supported calls for a Mansion Tax, opposed Regional Pay and called for his Party to do more to show it supports "the hard working people in our public sector." The New Statesman magazine recently summarised Guy's positions on low wages, corporate responsibility and apprenticeships, in an article entitled "Meet the Tories the left should be frightened of”.
Guy strives to support the needs of his Constituents in all matters, and has worked especially closely on the following campaigns:
- Guy is a leading supporter of the work of the Air Ambulance Service.
- In July 2012 Guy secured a debate in the House of Commons on removing VAT from Air Ambulance Fuel after an e-petition on the issue collected over 150,00 signatures.
- Guy now serves as the Chairman of the All Parliamentary Group on Air Ambulances having set the group up in October 2012.
- Guy is a proponent of equal pay for women and has campaigned for Council's to settle outstanding equal pay claims from women.
- Guy is also on record as opposing 'Regional Pay'. His stance on this issue has been praised by Kevin Rowan, head of the Northern TUC.
- Guy’s work on this matter was rewarded in the Autumn Statement 2012, when the Chancellor announced that regional pay would not be going ahead.
Fair Deal for Farmers
- Guy is a leading advocate of British Farming and in 2012 called for a boycott of Supermarkets who failed to pay a fair price for produce.
Freeman Baby Heart Unit
- Guy has been one of the leading political supporters of maintaining the Baby Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, after the centralisation of such services was announced as part of the 'Safe and Sustainable Review'.
- Guy has been a leading champion of the rebuilding of Haltwhistle Hospital, in the West of his constituency.
- Planning permission has now been secured and building work is expected to begin in the near future.
- Guy continues to lead campaigns to maintain full maternity services and A&E services at Hexham Hospital in his constituency.
- Guy has secured assurances of the future of both services from Northumbria Healthcare Trust.
- Guy has been leading a campaign for the establishment of local banking across the country – the missing tier of banking – and has held debates in Parliament on the matter to call for barrier to entry for new banks to be lessened.
- He has called for the Government to break up RBS and use the branches as a basis of a county banking system. It was a suggestion that the Treasury said they would look at seriously.
- Guy is a champion of lower petrol and diesel duty, raising the matter repeatedly in Parliament.
- In June 2012 he was named the first ever 'MP of the Week' by the Petrol Promise campaign for having the "the courage to stand up to the Government, and the big oil companies, about rip-off fuel prices".
- Guy was successful in ensuring the Government scrapped the planned rise in Fuel Duty for January 2013.
Prudhoe High School
- Guy led the campaign in Parliament to convince the Government to provide a new building for Prudhoe High School, one of four High Schools in his constituency.
- In 2012, Education Secretary Micheal Gove gave the go ahead for the project and building work is expected to start in 2015.
- According to the website "They Work For You" Guy has spoken in 76 debates in the last year — well above average amongst MPs.
- He has received answers to 44 written questions in the last year — above average amongst MPs and voted in 73% of votes in this Parliament with this Party.
- Guy's interests in Parliament include fuel poverty, vocational education, the future of the Falklands Islands, assisted dying and prison reform.
In April 2011, Guy 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. Guy has written about his experience, recording his "incredible debt" to the NHS and is a leading champion of the National Health Service in Parliament.
In October 2012 Guy had his first book published, 'Doing Time', an examination of the prison service and rehabilitating 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.
Guy is a board member of the High Pay Centre, and has authored an essay alongside Caroline Lucas MP and TUC General Secretary Designate Francis O'Grady entitled "Better Business: Moral Matters". In it he contrasts community-focused businesses in his own Northumberland constituency with the lack of responsibility demonstrated by the banking sector.
- Guy's blog was awarded a 'Top MP's Blog' award by Total Politics magazine in 2010.
- To date Guy continues to be one of Westminster's most prolific bloggers.