Member of Parliament for Aberconwy, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales and Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury.
Guto first entered the political fray for the Conservative Party as the candidate in the Ogmore by-election. After his baptism of fire, he was adopted to fight the Welsh Assembly seat in the former Conwy Constituency in 2003. After a hard fought campaign Guto increased the Conservative vote significantly from 18% to 25% coming within 5% of the successful Labour candidate.
Guto was adopted as the parliamentary candidate for the General Election in 2005 again increasing the Welsh Conservative vote in the Constituency and in the process halving the Labour majority whilst securing a swing of 5% from Labour to Conservative compared to the Welsh average of less than 1%. Following his success in being accepted on the so called ‘A’ list of Conservative candidates Guto was fast tracked through the selection process at the request of the local constituency association and was unanimously adopted in September 2007 as the Conservative Candidate for the new Aberconwy Constituency. In May 2010 Guto was elected as the first Member of Parliament for Aberconwy with a majority of 3,398 and a swing of 7.6% from Labour to Conservative. Guto was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority increasing his vote by just under 6%. This increased vote was only bettered by one other Conservative candidate in Wales.
On 19 March 2016 the Prime Minister appointed Guto as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales and a Government Whip (Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury).
Guto has been interested and involved in European affairs for well over a decade. He became a member of the Council of Business for Sterling Wales in 2000 and was, during the period 2000 – 2003, one of their main contributors to radio and television in Wales. Once it became apparent that Britain would not be adopting the Euro Guto joined the successor organisation to Business for Sterling, the think tank ‘Open Europe’.
‘Open Europe’ was responsible for the ‘I Want a Referendum’ campaign which saw Aberconwy chosen as one of ten constituencies throughout the UK where a full postal ballot was arranged in order to allow people to state whether they wanted a say on the Lisbon Treaty or not. On a 37% turnout over 90% of the electorate here in Aberconwy made it clear that they wanted their say on the treaty.
During the 2010 - 2015 Parliament, Guto supported most efforts to secure a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU stating that whilst he wanted “reform not divorce” the case for giving people their say was now overwhelming. In 2016 Guto joined with some of the stalwarts from the Business for Sterling campaign in being one of the first to sign-up to Conservatives for Reform. Guto has consistently made the case for continued UK membership in a reformed EU and is of the view that the case for ‘remain’ is a strong one.
Guto was born and brought up in North Wales and is a Graduate of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. In 1993 he founded Partneriaeth Egin Partnership, an Economic Development Consultancy. He also co-founded and ran a successful bookshop in Caernarfon in partnership with his wife before selling the business in 2002. He was also the Business Development Director of Innovas Wales from 2006 until 2011 where he worked on some very large and prestigious projects. Through his work and his political involvement Guto has gained a real understanding of the rural economy, the challenges of self-employment and an in depth knowledge of the challenges facing businesses and families in Wales.
He is a family man, having been married to Esyllt since 1993. They have five children – the twins being born during the run-up to the 2005 General Election campaign! Guto has the ability to communicate at all levels in both Welsh and English and has a capacity for hard work. He believes in consultation, discussion and fair play and has the experience of having worked and lived in the “real world”.
Guto was a member of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee between 2010 and 2015. He was also a member of the powerfulPublic Accounts Committee from 2012 to 2015 and was an elected officer of the 1922 Committee between 2011 and 2014.
In 2012 Guto formed the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Interest Rate Mis-Selling. The cross party group of backbench MPs has worked closely with the Bully Banks campaign group to prompt a solution to the problems created by the mis-sale of financial derivatives to small businesses. In 2015 the APPG broadened its remit, becoming the APPG on Fair Business Banking. Guto has also been the Chair of the APPG on the Connaught Income Fund since 2014, a financial scandal that saw pensioners loose some £150m of their savings, and he has served as the Chairman of the APPG on Retail Crime. He is also the founding secretary of the APPG on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and has led delegations of MPs to Brussels, Washington DC and Berlin in support of this proposed free trade treaty between the EU and the US.
Guto is also an active supporter of the right of the Israel state to exist and live in peace. He currently serves as a Parliamentary Vice-Chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI). CFI as an organisation works to promote the twin aims of supporting Israel and promoting the Conservative Party. Guto has visited Israel, the West Bank and Gaza on numerous occasions since his election in 2010 and has met with senior Israeli politicians, members of the Palestinian Authority and representatives of civic society in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.