As a Forest fan, I don’t think I will talk about football at all today.
I thank the shadow Leader again for her kind words, and Jim Fitzpatrick for his kind words on my brief appearance this morning during business questions. I am sure the House will be aware that my right hon. Friend Mel Stride has been appointed to the position of Leader of the House. I am particularly proud of my political career’s ending without any political shenanigans or scandal.
We have had a fantastic debate this afternoon. I pay tribute to Ian Mearns, my hon. Friend Sir David Amess, Nic Dakin, my hon. Friend Stephen Kerr, the hon. Members for Newport East (Jessica Morden) and for Poplar and Limehouse, Mr Carmichael and Mr Sweeney for their contributions.
I particularly enjoyed the start from the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, who in his tour de force told us all that is great about Gateshead and made an early commitment not to talk about the “B” word. It was not actually mentioned until much later in the debate, by the hon Member for Poplar and Limehouse. The hon. Member for Gateshead mentioned a lot of the challenges he faces in his constituency and the work he has done. I pay tribute to him not only for his work for his constituency as a Member of Parliament, but for his work as a local councillor. His work demonstrates his commitment to his community and he should be enormously proud of everything he has achieved. He managed to squeeze in references to the Angel of the North and Brendan Foster, who, when I was a young boy growing up, was a real hero of mine; we should recognise his achievements as a UK athlete.
We then moved on to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West. I think we can only describe the delivery of his speech as being in the style of a Gatling gun. It would be impossible for me to reference all the things he spoke about, but it really was a tour de force. He said that he started off in the style of Victor Meldrew. I think he concluded like Victor Meldrew on speed, frankly, as he took us through all the challenges he faces and much of his casework.
My hon. Friend did not miss the opportunity to talk about Southend not becoming a city. I am unsure whether colleagues are aware that he may have raised this issue before in this Chamber. [Laughter.] I am sure that one day that will drip through. He started by telling us that everybody on the Government Benches wanted to be the party leader. I noted that he did not rule himself out. I will take an intervention from him if he wants to rule himself out right now.