Department for Work & Pensions  

Guy Opperman reappointed pensions minister

Guy Opperman reappointed pensions minister
Guy Opperman, re-appointed pensions minister

Guy Opperman has agreed to return to his pension minister post until a new leader of the Conservative Party is elected.

He announced his re-appointment as parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Work and Pensions on Twitter on July 8, a day after resigning from his post.

At the time of his resignation, Opperman said the government could no longer function and asked prime minister Boris Johnson to step down from office.

Article continues after advert

“[I] have agreed to help DWP navigate the next few weeks, while we decide the appointment of a new prime minister,” he said.

He detailed the current topics the department is having to deal with, such as “superfunds, defined benefit issues, an outstanding [environmental, social and governance] consultation, ongoing correction exercises, and three-four pending private members bills,” which mean “that when the chief whip asked me to help until the new PM was chosen, I agreed”.

Opperman’s resignation sparked fears in the industry that important reforms, such as regulations for the new DB funding codeauto-enrolment expansion, the single code of practice, and the Pensions Regulator’s notifiable events regime, could be brought to a halt.

In his resignation letter on July 7 to Johnson, Opperman wrote: “I have given you ample opportunity to show real change. Sadly, recent events have shown clearly that government simply cannot function with you in charge.

“In good faith, and with regret, for the good of the country, I must ask you to stand down. No one individual, however successful in the past, is bigger than the party, or this great country.”

Over the past two weeks, Johnson has been embroiled in a row over his role in appointing MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip earlier this year.

Pincher resigned on June 30 after allegedly groping two men at a private members’ club in London.

But there were questions over whether Johnson was aware of a separate sexual misconduct allegation made against Pincher before he was appointed to the role of deputy whip.

A number of high-profile cabinet ministers resigned on July 5 over the row, including former chancellor Rishi Sunak and former health secretary Sajid Javid. Nadhim Zahawi MP and Steve Barclay MP were appointed to replace them, respectively.

Despite attempting to fend off repeated calls for him to step down from his own party – with more than 50 MPs resigning from government roles - Johnson finally announced on July 7 he was resigning and the process to find a new leader was now in motion.

He said a timetable for the search for a new prime minister will be announced this week, following reports he will stay on in the role until the autumn.

Maria Espadinha is Editor at Pensions Expert, FTAdviser's sister publication