Guy Opperman hasn’t answered one parliamentary question put to him in a week. This is not like him and suggests an uncertainty about his future.
Not only he been quiet in parliament but his social media feeds have been silent too.
The DWP website does not list him as a Minister at the moment.
And this looks rather ominous
Not a good reward for loyal service
While parliament has other matters to deal with, and our thoughts are on the change in our monarchy, it would be right to get a clear statement on who is Liz Truss’ Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion as soon after the period of mourning ceases as possible.
This is in the interests of all – but especially Guy Opperman.
Opperman nailed his colours to the mast in support of Rishi Sunak and appointments at a more senior level have been to Truss loyalists.
However, Opperman has been a steady hand at the tiller for over five years and at a time of uncertainty elsewhere in Government, his loyalty has always been to his party and to this secretary of state.
I fear for his tenure of the roll , aware that the major projects that are in the pipeline concerning CDC, Superfunds, the pensions dashboard and potential reform of pension credit are yet to deliver. His work on TCFD and pension consolidation are more advanced but still to be fully realised
He is due to deliver a keynote address to the PLSA in October which would be the opportunity to lay-out the ministerial agenda through to the next election , likely to be in late 2024.
Opperman’s five years have been dogged by major external change, Brexit, Covid and most recently the regime change that looks like radically altering the Treasury’s stance on regulation (most pertinently on EU solvency requirements). The progress he has made to date has been disrupted and Opperman has shown considerable patience and reserve in public.
He has had a variety of Secretary of States to work with and the most recent, Chloe Smith, is regarded highly by those I know in her department.
Many of the people who write for this blog or who I write about are supporters of Guy Opperman and I support him too. As his recent statements on Tom McPhail’s podcasts made clear, he is passionately committed to his work.
Though he has a young baby to look after , he is a single minded politician who chose to be pensions minister and has given the job all his energy since taking it.
Junior Ministers are appointed by the Secretary of State and there is no reason why Chloe Smith won’t reappoint him but for now we appear to have no pensions minister.
So I hope that this roaring silence will break and that he will be reconfirmed in his current post. Failing that, I look forward to him being an enthusiast for the policies he initiated and saw through the Pension Schemes Act 2021, from elsewhere in the House of Commons.