I got drunk with Lib Dem politician Lembit Öpik in Bristol

What a guy


It was supposed to be an ordinary evening – the UoB Journalism Society had invited RT journalist Afshin Rattansi to speak about the election and media regulation.

The other committee members and I were exchanging pleasantries and and having short lived discussions on vaguely interesting topics – as you’d expect before a speakers event – and then Afshin said, ‘My friend Lembit Öpik might come.’ I found this amusing and considered it a passing comment: I didn’t think he’d come.

To my surprise, the final question at the end of the event was asked by none other than Lembit himself.

Lembit Öpik is a a former Liberal Democrat member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire, and University of Bristol alumnus. He came to prominence after a string of television appearances and infamous couplings with the ITV meteorologist, Sian Lloyd, and one half of the pop, twin duo ‘the cheeky girls’ Gabriela Irimia.

We went to the pub – as you do – for a quiet drink with some conversation on a series of civilised topics.

Of course, these are distinguished individuals… Almost immediately they started interacting with each other like naughty school boys. Lembit was accusing Afshin of being a Kremlin spy, Afshin was teasing Lembit about being a liberal and working for the BBC.

Lembit began to reminisce about his time in Bristol and insisted that we go to the Student’s Union bar – he hadn’t been for 30 years since he was a student. We all (7 of us) squeezed into a 6 seater Uber to the bar and were treated to Afshin and Lembit bantering about politicians fighting in House of Commons bar.

We arrived and started drinking – Afshin and Lembit expressed discontent at the bar for not having any champagne in stock. Almost immediately – Lembit was approached by students asking for photographs of him. This is where my memory of the evening begins to fade…

I distinctly remember Lembit getting another round and walking back from the bar with 3 bottles of wine, 2 of which he put in his bag for him and Afshin to drink on the train home (I assume). I also recall being outed as a fan of Margaret Thatcher to Lembit’s horror – he immediately grabbed a SU bar menu and scribbled policies that he hoped would change my mind.

I was quite touched that he took the effort to do that.

The morning after I found a picture of Lembit, the President of the University Conservative Association, and the Societies Chair, and I.

I don’t remember it being taken but we appear to be having a great time!