AT 11pm this evening, our country will leave the European Union, delivering on the biggest single decision the British people have ever undertaken.

I believe that this is a significant cause for celebration, not for those so-called brexiteers to gloat over the so-called remainers (names which I do not like and which can hopefully be consigned to history on Saturday), but simply because this is the beginning of a new era for our country as we embark on a new, restored global vision of who we are and where we stand in the world.

The opportunity to rekindle old friendships and make friends anew on the global stage bringing new trading opportunities to us is a truly exciting one.

The past three years have been damaging and divisive and made our politics toxic. I hope and pray that with our departure behind us, we can return to the politics we as a country have missed. Our discussions should be about our schools, our hospitals, our police, our roads and our railways. Politics should be about how our politicians can manage government to make lives better for people. That is why I got involved in politics.

Darlington is a proud industrious town, with a great heritage I was only too eager to highlight in my maiden speech earlier this week. It also has a great future, and trading globally through a newly established freeport on the River Tees (much like the vision I think our town’s forefathers must have had when they established Port Darlington which is now known as Middlesbrough), and trading and transporting people and goods through our newly saved airport with connections to new cities and more to follow.

There are truly exciting opportunities for us here. Indeed, could we not have a cruise terminal on the Tees to bring valuable tourism into our wider region? I will certainly mention that to the mayor, Ben Houchen, and see what he can do.

Tonight, more than 120 people will be joining me for a Celebration Dinner in Darlington. It is an event local Conservatives have had planned since October. It started life as a regular date on our programme of party fundraisers, but as the election loomed and our hopes of success increased, it morphed into a victory party (even though I counselled against counting any chickens). Following the election result and the final approval of the Withdrawal Agreement, it morphed further and now we are going to have festoons of red white and blue, and a 20-piece silver band.

We hope the event will be akin to last night of the proms. Joyful and expectant.

The clock will chime 11, and the clock face of our beloved market hall clock tower face turns red white and blue and we will have marked a national occasion of significance.

It is right that that is marked regardless of how your friend, your neighbour, your brother, your sister, your husband or your wife voted in 2016.

We can and should put that division behind us. I certainly want to get on with the job of saving Locomotion No 1, campaigning for more investment in our train station, campaigning for our much needed A1/A66 link road, and getting more investment in our hospital, our schools and police – that is what I am here to do.

On a personal level, I am celebrating this week too. Having made my maiden speech in Parliament I now have my wings, the L plates are off and I am at liberty to fully participate in debates. Many of my Parliamentary colleagues have congratulated me on my speech but have also commented on a variety of aspects of it with remarks like “I never knew that about Darlington”, or “I must come and see that”.

Early in my career I worked in the City of York and whenever I travelled anywhere in the world people would say to me “Oooh, York is lovely” or “We loved (insert historical building) when we visited”.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why Darlington can’t promote itself to the same extent. The Locomotion No 1 story has caused many national media publications and broadcasters to contact me and all of them are surprised at the blatant stupidity of the decision to move it. If I have achieved nothing else this week, I will certainly have highlighted our history, heritage, enterprise and engineering and shone a spotlight on our most ingenious town that has, in my view, hidden its many lights under a bushel.

The other reason to celebrate this week is that we have picked up the keys to our new home in Darlington.

I have fulfilled my promise to the people of Darlington, and the Conservative benches in the Commons have fulfilled their promise to the country. Democracy has returned and that is also reason to celebrate.