Guy Opperman (born 18 May 1965) is the Conservative candidate for Hexham, elected at the 2010 and 2015 general elections.
Guy has an honours degree in law from the University of Buckingham and a first class diploma from the University of Lille, France.
Guy 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. Guy 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. He 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. 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 MP.
Guy served as a Director of his family engineering business until 2009.
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 one of the first MPs in the UK 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.
Freeman Baby Heart Unit
Guy has been one of the leading political supporters of maintaining the Baby Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.
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 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.
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.
Guy is a leading supporter of the work of the Air Ambulance Service. In July 2012 he secured a debate in the House of Commons on removing VAT from Air Ambulance Fuel after an e-petition on the issue collected over 150,000 signatures. Guy now serves as the Chairman of the All Parliamentary Group on Air Ambulances, having set the group up in October 2012.
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.
Guy is a proponent of equal pay for women and has campaigned for Councils 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 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.
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. In a recent debate he 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'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 UK. 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. You can visit Guy's daily blog atguyopperman.co.uk