Meet your MP: Guy Opperman (Conservative), Hexham

Guy Opperman by Suzy Varty

Some background on Guy Opperman

Guy Opperman was elected as MP for Hexham in 2010, having previously stood unsuccessfully in North Swindon and Caernarfon.

He went to Harrow boarding school then attended the University of Buckingham. An amateur jockey, he lost his spleen in a fall. Also a brain tumour survivor, Opperman likes to voice his support for the NHS publicly. He was however evidently unable to accompany the Prime Minister on his “long-standing” trip to Opperman’s Hexham constituency hospital on Monday 8 November.

What has Guy Opperman done in the House of Commons?

Opperman was an assistant whip and then a whip for the government between 2015 and 2017. Opperman is now Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions; his brief includes pensions and financial inclusion. This often puts him at odds with the campaign Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI).

Unsurprisingly for a former party whip, on the vast majority of issues Opperman votes the same way as other Conservative MPs (at his most rebellious between June 2017 and November 2019, he voted differently 5 times out of 420 votes, or 1.2% of the time). For instance, Guy Opperman voted in 2015 for allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life.

Guy voted to remain in the EU in June 2016, but by December that year he voted with the government for the UK to leave, and voted for this a further 17 times. He voted against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK 18 times, and was absent on a further 4 related votes.

Votes on the NHS included 7 votes in favour of reforming the NHS so GPs buy services on behalf of their patients and 7 against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS.

On financial matters, Opperman voted 7 times to reduce capital gains tax and 12 times against taxing bankers’ bonuses.

Financial interests

Opperman is a barrister, but has not practised since 2010. He declared an interest of over 15% in a company supporting social enterprise which has now been dissolved. Another registered interest was investing start-up capital in Atom Bank, based in Durham.

Guy Opperman is an (unpaid) co-founder and supporter of Policy North, a web-based think tank originally registered in Newcastle. Policy North is registered as having donated €2,818.55 in 2017 to the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE), a party in the European Parliament.

More recently Opperman’s wife Flora Coleman, a fintech lobbyist, was alleged to have used her spouse’s pass to access the Houses of Parliament. This has been described as a “gaping hole” in the rules on lobbying because such pass holders do not need to declare which MPs or government advisers they have lobbied.

Most memorable lines

Guy’s most memorable lines:

  • Suggested at a hustings in 2019 that families using food banks “must get better at handling money”
  • Said in Parliament he understands life on zero-hours contracts because he used to be £250-an-hour barrister.

Sources include

Register of interests

Parliamentary record

Company and director information

MPs’ voting records in context

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