Sunday, 27 June 2010

Armed Forces Day

What a great success Armed Forces Day turned out to be on Saturday. I have never seen so many in people in Hexham, all turning out to show our support for our troops. The Duchess of Northumberland awarded campaign medals to those just returned from Afghanistan and Mayor Terry Robson awarded the soldiers the Freedom of Hexham.

What an incredible day.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Have your say on courts future

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on reforming the courts system. This has an impact in Hexham as Tynedale Magistrates’ court is one of those the Ministry of Justice has highlighted.

I'd like to know what you think on the plans, you can view the consultation documents here.

You can then email me your views: or send them to me on facebook here

PM praises Hexham for tribute to Armed Forces

'The Prime Minister yesterday hailed Hexham for "going the extra mile" in paying tribute to British soldiers.

David Cameron praised the town as hundreds of soldiers from 39 Regiment Royal Artillery, The Welsh Gunners, stationed at nearby Albemarle Barracks, prepare to parade in the town in support of Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

His comments came after Hexham MP Guy Opperman said other areas should follow the lead of the town during Prime Minister's Questions.'

To read the full article in The Journal use the link:

Prime Minister's Questions

I asked my first question at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. I highlighted it was Armed Forces Day on Saturday and what is going on in the constituency to honour our troops. I was great to hear the Prime Minister's enthusatic response.

Guy Opperman (Hexham) (Con): Saturday is armed forces day. In my constituency of Hexham in Northumberland we have hundreds of Royal Artillery servicemen who have recently returned from Afghanistan and will receive the freedom of the town. When they are off duty, they will receive multiple discounts from dozens of stores, restaurants and pubs that are doing their bit locally. Does the Prime Minister agree that it is everyone’s duty, not just in the House but all around the country, to go the extra mile and show the gratitude that we all have for our brave troops?

The Prime Minister: I very much agree with my hon. Friend. As I said earlier, this is something that the whole country needs to do, not just the Government. Yes, we have our responsibilities to make sure that we are living up to the military covenant and are doing all that we can for our armed forces and their families, but it is something that communities, individuals and businesses can do, too. I understand that in Hexham, there will be a nine-hour forces celebration. When those servicemen and women are off duty, there will be discounts, as he said, from restaurants and pubs, so I expect that it might get a bit lively, and I am sure that he will join in the fun.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Budget Day

I will be in the House for the Emergency Budget today; expect the Chancellor to get to his feet at around 12.30, Huw Edwards will be presenting the BBC's coverage on BBC2 from 12.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Armed Forces Day - Sat 26th June

Come and join us in Hexham town for Armed Forces Day on Saturday 26th June.

We have the honour of welcoming troops as they march through our town. There will be 300+ soldiers on duty in Hexham with 200+ taking part in the march through Hexham. There will be a Parade inspection and presentation of Afghanistan campaign medals by the Duchess of Northumberland, the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland. The Mayor will also present the Regiment with the Honorary Freedom of the Town of Hexham.

I will take great pride in honouring our brave troops on Saturday, hope you can come along and show your support.

Allendale, Catton, Ovingham...

Another busy day in the constituency on Saturday. Met up with Cllr Ian Hutchinson for a meeting at the Allendale Bakery, part of the Allen Mill Regeneration project. Some fantastic local enterprises, including MAKE - a recycling craft shop.
Then off to see Cllr Colin Horncastle open the Catton Village Fair. Got some great bargains, including plenty of jam, a lasagne dish... and a Christmas tree. Really good village atmosphere.

Then managed to pop along to the Ovingham Goose Fair, fantastic atmosphere; brilliant support from the local police; real community policing. Some great local stalls as well from Green Ovingham and the Prudhoe air cadets .

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Friday in Prudhoe

After a busy week down in Westminster I spent most of Friday in Prudhoe. Had a meeting with Rev. Charles Hope and Yvonne at the Prudhoe Partnership / Info Point; they have some amazing projects and we've got some good ideas going forward. I am doing my best to go around all the partnerships.

Then off to meet headteachers from Prudhoe. Dr Shaw head of Prudhoe High School, Mrs Kidd headteacher of Highfields Middle and Mrs Coulson, headteacher at the local First School. All three schools are lucky to have such hard-working and dedicated leaders. Some tough questions, and we made plans for the future from the meeting.

Finished off the day meeting some local businesses and local residents including Robert and Fiona Forsythe - real gold mines of local history; then on to Peter Atkinsons farewell party at Hexham Racecourse - which was wonderful.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Thursday - print and TV work

Morning in the House of Commons. Have received office confirmation that we get established on Monday.
Had my piece in the Journal published today, and Morpeth Herald, and then did the Tyne Tees late show with Gerry Foley and various other politicians from around the region.
Travelled up late and met up with friends and family in the Angel in Corbridge for dinner.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Wednesday in westminster - Northumbrian Association

A good day in westminster culminated in the Northumbrian Association dinner - organised by Northumbrian Water, with support from Durham Cathedral and other volontary organisations. All in support of the Cathedrals good work and many heroes were celebrated.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

wood pannelling meeting

Met with the labour MPs who represent the other constituencies that have a significant wood pannelling presence - obviously mine is Egger.
The Government ROC incentives are subsidising energy companies with terrible effects on timber producers / users
We are doing all we can to help Egger

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Friday in Hexham

Spent Friday in Hexham town with my Advice Surgery at the Community Centre; fully booked again - great to be able to try and help so many people. Then a visit to see the great work of Tamsin and her team at the Hexham Community Partnership; one of their biggest projects is keeping the Forum Cinema alive and kicking which is a real asset to the town. Rounded off the day with a visit to local businesses.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Friday 11th June

Home to Hexham: I have a correspondence catch up this morning then a surgery this afternoon, and various meetings; then supporting various shows Saturday.
Good news on the A1 - have had correspondence with the Shadow Roads minister and the issue will still be supported by the government

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Westminster week

Monday to thursday sees me in westminster;
i). Office report: the office situation is still a non starter - one correspondent suggested that I go to Office world and buy a desk; sadly that is not the problem. The issue is where you base yourself. The simple truth is that there is very limited space in westminster, and we are all crammed in like sardines. Am told this will get resolved next week
ii). Met again with George Osborne the shadow chancellor at Number 11 Downing Street, and his team, including Justine Greening. I have already raised concerns by constituents about CGT rises. The matter is being relooked at but the level of national debt remains off the scale.
iii). Delighted to speak in the ID Card debate + good news that they are going: either they were vital to government / national interest, and therefore were required to be carried at all times or they were just another civil liberty infringement - you cannot have it both ways; and they cost £30+

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

My Maiden Speech

I made my maiden speech on Monday during the Constitution and Home Affairs debate, you can read the full text of it here.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Correspondence Central

Attempting to respond to all letters, emails and petitions but we are literally inundated; please bear with us if it takes time.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Super Saturday!

Busy day today: started at 10am when went down to the Tyne to support the Hexham Regetta; then spent 90 minutes doing a surgery - this time a Supermarket Surgery which we held in Tesco - went really well, definitely going to be doing them again! Then off to Humshaugh and Corbridge to visit their fetes - great sense of community (and great cakes!)

Finished the day with a trip up to Capheaton / Belsay to the brilliant Northumberland Young Farmers Rally to meet everyone and present a trophy. Claire and the committee did an excellent job organising the whole event; there were literally hundreds there; a great day was had by all. Looking forward to the Birtley Village fete tommorow.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Visit to Haltwhistle Partnership

Visited the Haltwhistle Community Partnership today - the ladies there do some excellent work.We talked for an hour about how we can help; I am holding a copy of their local magazine - just hot off the presses.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Parliamentary week

Still no desk or office, but the post has come flooding in; have been trying to go to the House as much as is possible as making my maiden speech late Monday afternoon next week.