House of Commons – PA Images via Getty Images
The former health secretary, who resigned after it emerged he breached social distancing guidelines by kissing his aide in June, has kept a relatively low profile over the summer as his marriage broke down.
Now the Tory backbencher appears to be re-emerging into the world of politics and posted a 50-second video online where he meets and greets his constituents in Haverhill.
With upbeat music in the background, Hancock looks slightly out of place as he fist-bumps one member of the public while another affectionately touches his face.
Safe to say, it didn’t go down very well online.
Anti-Brexit campaigner and writer Femi Oluwole commented: “150,000 people dead…the worst breach of Covid lockdown rules of the whole pandemic…
“And this guy (along with 100s of other Tories) is just going to stroll back into Parliament at the next election as if nothing happened because they’re in safe seats. #MakeVotesMATTER!”
150,000 people dead…
…the worst breach of Covid lockdown rules of the whole pandemic…
And this guy (along with 100s of other Tories) is just going to stroll back into Parliament at the next election as if nothing happened because they’re in safe seats.#MakeVotesMATTER!
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) September 26, 2021
Others couldn’t quite believe it was real, with one account tweeting: “This is so cringe. It has to be satire. If he thinks this does him a favour, I’m speechless.”
This is so cringe. It has to be satire. If he thinks this does him a favour; I’m speechless
— Alk100 (@alk100) September 26, 2021
Some accounts didn’t miss a beat and immediately compared it to the political satire show The Thick of It – or Alan Partridge.
The phrase “accidental Partridge” began showing up all over Twitter, meaning Hancock’s awkwardness embodied Steve Coogan’s character Partridge, a broadcaster who lacks significant social skills.
Coogan describes Partridge as a Little Englander with ring-wing values, and he has become a cultural touchstone on what not to be in broadcasting.
Even the Twitter account Accidental Partridge – which catches clips of awkward public appearances – recognised Hancock’s video.
He doesn’t even know how to lean on something.
— Pete Bell (@RealPeteBell) September 26, 2021