Like others, I start by congratulating my right hon. Friend Dr Fox on his important work in bringing the Bill to the House and on reaching Third Reading. Like my hon. Friends the Members for Eddisbury (Edward Timpson) and for North Devon (Selaine Saxby), we all know individuals with Down syndrome. My experience is similar to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury: when I was growing up, living in the house next door was a young lad by the name of Mark, who was the great love of his parents, Tony and Carol. It just so happened that he had this condition, Down syndrome, but that was not a barrier to the fulfilment of his life chances. Unfortunately both Tony and Carol have since passed away, but I am aware that Mark is leading a very full life. He is in work, and I believe he has his own individual accommodation, although he may require support and has a large network around him.
Our role, as legislators, is to ensure that people are able to achieve their full potential, and also to strive to give them the confidence to be ambitious. We who have been brought up in this country are very fortunate, in that the barriers to success are very limited. As a second-generation immigrant, I still pinch myself to make sure that I really am sitting on the green Benches in the House of Commons.
My previous experience as chairman of the board of governors of a further education college, and also as a governor on the board of a school for young people with autism, has shown me directly that when we do things right, we do them really right. That means being able to say to people, whatever their status or condition, “Be good, be great, and be a real world leader.”