I enjoy learning new things every day. It is a delight to take part in a much underrated parliamentary tradition. Many of us often participate in these debates. I am disappointed that more do not realise what a great chance it is to see the better side of Parliament. Who can forget my contribution—I think that it was in 2013—when I spoke for 10 minutes on the heritage protection of the built civil nuclear environment? No one remembers it at all, but I can assure the House that it was a scintillating performance.
I find that one of the hardest things about being a Member is retaining my own sense of good will towards all Members, whatever side of the House they happen to sit on. We often forget that we all come to this place wanting to achieve the same thing, which is to make a positive difference in the communities that we serve. This can often be hard to discern as time goes by. Our debates can grow fractious. As we have heard even today, our remedies to the problems that we see day by day vary widely. We often have very different ideas as to how we should solve the problems that we come across.
Such debates underline the fact, however, that we have far more in common as Members than what divides us. The Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee, Ian Mearns, is a prime example of that. Week after week, he gives us opportunities to discuss the issues that matter most to Members across this House. Today, we had one such debate on autism, and it was an excellent way to spend a profitable couple of hours. I was only disappointed that I could not speak in it myself.
My last effort before being made a Minister was to chair a review of apprenticeships for people with autism for the Department for Education. That is an amazing thing. It underlines that one does not need to be a Minister to make a difference in this place. I made that point in my maiden speech. Everywhere we go in this place, as Vicky Foxcroft pointed out, we can make a real, positive difference. I think we often underestimate just how much change we can effect without standing at this Dispatch Box.
The Chairman of the Backbench Business Committee made some worthwhile points. I was delighted to hear him talk about De La Rue, which is a genuinely excellent British company printing banknotes and passports around the world. It relies on an export market that is out there. I am sure that he has heard many of the arguments that have been employed over the past few days. He will know that the legal process is ongoing. He will also know that many other jobs—some 50 jobs, I believe—have been created by the alternative bid that has been successful. The security-related work will be carried out in the UK, so there are no national security concerns. I think that we all wish De La Rue well. It is an important part of the British economy and his own local economy. I am sure that we all wish him every success in that in future.
The hon. Gentleman was right to raise the importance of the economic progress that is being made across the whole north-east. Every time we have an exchange in this Chamber, I seem to make a point about the investment that we have made in new rolling stock for the Metro—a decision that I took as a Minister at the Department for Transport. To me, that is a sign of this Government’s commitment to the north-east and the importance we place on economic growth in the region.