Monday, 28 February 2022

Russian invasion of Ukraine

Putin's invasion is a clear violation of international law, and it is only right that the UK stands with Ukraine, and our allies, in solidarity against this brutal dictator.

The Government’s package of sanctions, will inflict economic pain on Putin. The sanctions have hit more than 100 Russian companies and oligarchs at the heart of Putin’s regime have been hit with sanctions worth 100s of billions of pounds, as well as asset freezes and travel bans. 

The Government has worked closely with the US and the EU to ensure that key Russian banks are cut off from the main international payment system, SWIFT, and the Chancellor has acted decisively to ban British citizens and businesses from making transactions with the Russian central bank. 

Ministers are working around the clock with their international counterparts to further strengthen sanctions and the UK Government has been clear that nothing is off the table when it comes to punishing Putin for his actions. 

I want to pay tribute to the brave Ukrainians who, right now, are fighting not only for their lives, but for the very freedom of their country. I am incredibly proud of the British effort to support them in this struggle. The UK armed forces have directly trained 22,000 Ukrainian Troops through Operation Orbital and have sent defensive military aid directly to Ukraine, and troops from Albermarle Barracks in Northumberland are currently supporting NATO on the Estonian border with Russia.  

There can be no doubt of our resolve to do everything we can to thwart Putin’s aggression. Diplomatically, economically, and militarily, he must suffer for his actions, so that freedom and democracy prevails over tyranny. 

Last week, I appeared on ITV Around the House, where I spoke about how troops from Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland are supporting NATO forces in Estonia. The episode can be viewed by clicking HERE.

If you are a constituent, and you need support, please contact my office. Email on: 


Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Living with COVID-19

The Prime Minister announced in the House of Commons that from 24th February the Government will remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. He also announced that the Government will no longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts of a positive Covid-19 case to test daily and that it will revoke The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations which are currently in law.

In its plan, the Government state that although free testing will end for most people, testing will be available for at-risk groups. The government will focus on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable with vaccines, at-home PCR testing and antivirals and therapeutics to ensure they are protected from the virus. 

As it sets out in its plan document, people will still be encouraged to adopt safer behaviours to reduce the risk of infection, including getting vaccinated, making the most of fresh, staying at home if they are unwell and wearing a face covering in crowded areas.

Latest Government data shows that as a result of wide-ranging immunity, as well as new treatments such as antivirals, the link between Covid-19 infections and severe disease has been wakened with less than 1 in 100 cases requiring hospital treatment compared to 4 in 100 at the start of the pandemic.

The Government will continue to monitor Covid-19 by using the ONS Surveillance Study to look at transmission and to detect any new variants of the virus. 

The full 'Living with Covid-19' document can be viewed HERE.

Haltwhistle Academy going from strength to strength

I recently had the opportunity to visit Haltwhistle Academy Primary School with Cllr Ian Hutchinson to meet with Headteacher, Susie Drake.

The £2.65m Tynedale school officially opened its doors in October 2021. The project on Park Avenue has seen the former middle school undergo a major refurbishment to create a new academy, space for community activities and the children’s centre. 

The rebuilding of this school comes after my longstanding campaign to ensure investment in schools reaches the most rural communities.

The project received funding from Northumberland County Council and WISE Academies - the trust that oversees the running of the school.

The school has been transformed by the multi-million pound investment and the rebuild. What a change!

From left to right: Guy Opperman MP, Susie Drake and Cllr Ian Hutchinson  

Wednesday, 16 February 2022


Northumberland is experiencing strong winds once again with Storms Dudley and Eunice. 

If you experience a power cut, please ring the National helpline on 105. 

As with StormArwen, my office stands ready to help. Please contact me at

Some useful information below

Friday, 11 February 2022

Relaxation of travel restrictions today

From today, eligible fully vaccinated arrivals no longer need to test when arriving into the UK, and just need to fill out a simplified Passenger Locator Form.

As we become one of the most open countries in the world, arrivals who do not qualify as fully vaccinated will only need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day 2 after they arrive in the UK. 

After nearly two years of necessary but complex travel arrangements, these changes will make it cheaper & easier for families to travel, taking advantage of the UK's high levels of vaccination, and keeping us all safe. 

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Children's Mental Health Week

Children's Mental Health Week takes place 7-13 February 2022. 

The theme of Growing Together encourages children (and adults) to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow.

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Year 8 from St Joseph's in Hexham to talk about why mental health is so important for young people.  

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

My tribute to Jack Dromey MP

Last week, I had the honour of speaking in memory of my colleague, and friend, Jack Dromey MP. 

A great Union and Labour campaigner, but also the best example of cross-party working I have ever known. Rest in peace, Jack.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Safer Internet Day - 8 February

Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people, and to inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively.

Today, the government announced that the Online Safety Bill will be significantly strengthened with a new legal duty requiring all sites that publish pornography to put robust checks in place to ensure their users are 18 years old or over.

This could include adults using secure age verification technology to verify that they possess a credit card and are over 18 or having a third-party service confirm their age against government data.

If sites fail to act, the independent regulator Ofcom will be able fine them up to 10 per cent of their annual worldwide turnover or can block them from being accessible in the UK. Bosses of these websites could also be held criminally liable if they fail to cooperate with Ofcom.

A large amount of pornography is available online with little or no protections to ensure that those accessing it are old enough to do so. There are widespread concerns this is impacting the way young people understand healthy relationships, sex and consent. Half of parents worry that online pornography is giving their kids an unrealistic view of sex and more than half of mums fear it gives their kids a poor portrayal of women.

Monday, 7 February 2022

National Apprenticeship Week

This week from February 7 - 11 February we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.

Apprenticeships are a crucial way to address skills shortages, invest in future talent, and help more people in Tynedale and Ponteland access high skilled, high wage jobs.

Apprenticeships are all about partnerships. They involve employers, training providers, individuals, end point assessment organisations, parents, ambassadors and many more stakeholders working together.

Since 2015, 3,200 people across Tynedale and Ponteland have started apprenticeships. 

The 15th National Apprenticeship Week (February 7-13) is designed to showcase the positive impact that apprenticeships make on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

I recently went to Essity's Prudhoe Mill Site to meet with some of the apprentices. Global companies with sites in the region, like Essity, can offer fantastic careers to talented young people choosing not to go to university, instead opting to earn while they learn.

At Prudhoe Mill, male and female school leavers are paid well above the minimum apprentice starting salary. I would encourage young people across Tynedale and Ponteland to consider applying for these opportunities.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Backing the British Sign Language Bill through Parliament

I am backing a vital Bill through Parliament which will see British Sign Language become a recognised language.

The British Sign Language Bill is Private Member’s Bill introduced by Labour MP, Rosie Cooper.

The Bill signals promotion and facilitation of BSL when making public service announcements, encouraging other service providers to do the same.

BSL offers a lifeline to 250,000 Brits who communicate through the visual medium, which consists of a combination of hand gestures, facial expressions and body language.

If passed, it would also see the launch of an advisory board of BSL users to:

offer guidance to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on how and when to use it

examine how the DWP goes about increasing the number of BSL interpreters

make sure the Access to Work scheme better meets the needs of BSL users to support them in employment

Effective communication is vital to creating a more inclusive and accessible society across Tynedale and Ponteland and in the UK.

Legally recognising British Sign Language in Great Britain is a significant step towards ensuring that deaf people are not excluded from reaching their potential.

Storm Arwen Public Meetings - Hexham and Allendale

Last week, I held the final two meetings on the response to Storm Arwen. 

As we have seen over the weekend with Storms Malik and Corrie, we need to be match fit for a future storm. 

Both the meetings were very productive, giving my constituents the opportunity to have their voices heard by Northern Powergrid, Northumbrian Water and Northumberland County Council. 

As you may be aware, I am writing a report on the response to Storm Arwen, taking account of points raised during the public meetings. 

If you have any recommendations or suggestions of how we can better deal with future storm events, please visit: Storm Arwen | Guy Opperman and use the form. 

The report will be sent to the Department for Business and Ofgem to be considered for their Reviews into the response to Storm Arwen.