If you lead a business in Teesside, you will have witnessed and appreciated the power of personality, and its place in the region’s astonishing renaissance.

Every major project needs a driver - a character to rise above others, attracting attention and instinctive respect. If they are in the meetings and negotiations then you know you have a good chance of getting what you need.

I make no secret at all of the fact that I regard Ben Houchen as a key factor in what is happening here. If he wasn’t as focussed on the region and wasn’t as good at his job we wouldn’t be this far ahead of the rest. There will always be criticism of leaders who wield a lot of power, but it is difficult to argue against that simple truth.

Which brings us to Rishi Sunak.

I’ve met him twice, looked him in the eyes as he answered some challenging questions and, yes, some supportive questions.

From that limited viewpoint, I like him as a person, and unreservedly appreciate what his decisions have done for Teesside and the wider region. There is a connection between him and Houchen and each see the value of the other, which is why the Treasury base is coming to Darlington.

So what happens if we lose the Chancellor? As we found out in jaw-dropping reports yesterday, the fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations undoubtedly open him and the Prime Minister up to the fury and unforgiving criticism of the people to who they are supposed to set an example.

These are business pages, so we have to demand the highest standards in the corridors of power here and in London, but we also have a duty to ask what comes next if Rishi leaves.

The first point to make is obvious, and I’m sure aggravating - Levelling Up, and Teesside specifically, would be worse off without him.

We need the commitment, the courage to press on and the connection with this region.

So if at any stage it isn’t him in the hotseat at the Darlington Economic Campus, that doesn’t change the need for the qualities he has.

The person in the office at Downing Street or Feethams House or at Brunswick - and the continuity of their approach - is a vital line on this region’s blueprint.