I'm back, and you've never met Matt Hancock the Lover before

By the new so-much-in-love Matt Hancock

FORGET everything you knew about the old Matt Hancock. I’m back and I’m more nauseatingly in love than ever before.

It’s been a crazy few months, eh? That vaccine I personally secured and distributed has knocked the panny-D on the head. (You’re welcome.) But all the other news is totes sad, so I thought I’d cheer you all up by restarting my career.

Yes, the old cool-as-a-cucumber Matt Hancock you all knew and respected is gone. But in his place is Matt Hancock the Lover. He’s suave, stylish in a polo neck, and rambles on about love in podcasts. Think Casanova meets Joe Rogan. Better lock up your daughters! (No, just joking, I am not a threat.)

Cynics will try to shoot down the new me. But all I’m guilty of is falling for an incredible woman who wasn’t my wife while mishandling the biggest public health crisis in living memory. Who hasn’t had their judgement clouded by love? I wasn’t an incompetent twat, I was just too romantic.

Thanks to extensive media training by my former colleague and the person I’m now trying to get my kids to call ‘mum’, I’m ready to return to public life. It’s taken a while for you all to swallow your pride and welcome me back, but I graciously accept your forgiveness.

With the people of Britain now firmly behind me once again I expect I can effortlessly glide back into politics. Who knows, maybe I’ll go for the top job? My manifesto: It’s not a crime to fall in love. See you at the ballot box.

Yours, Matt xxx (kissing with hearts emoji)

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The Vladimir Putin I knew, by some deluded prick

A MEGALOMANIAC madman mumbling nonsense about neo-Nazi drug addicts to justify a disastrous invasion? That’s not the warm, kind, generous Vladimir Putin I once knew. 

No, when I was Vlad’s art dealer, party planner and confidante for more than a decade, he was an urbane, confident leader who would never think of violently repressing anyone apart from Chechnya. 

I would walk into his simple billion-dollar palace on the Black Sea where he would be lounging beneath a portrait of Stalin – who he admired purely as a person – discoursing knowledgeably on the work of Jeff Koons and the effectiveness of vacuum bombs. 

Other than the single occasion when I saw him beating a member of an opposing political party until his knuckles bled, he was never less than gracious and convivial. And we all have bad days. 

If you’d met the Vlad I met, you too would have enjoyed his witty, lighthearted company and found it difficult to believe he had ordered the agonising poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium in a London hotel. 

He seemed so rational, so strategic. Not at all the kind of man who would cause the entire city of Salisbury to be decontaminated because he’d ordered enough nerve toxin to kill tens of thousands to be used on one former double agent. 

I’m baffled as to how the former KGB officer who invaded Georgia, backed a coup in Montenegro and annexed the Crimea has come to this. That’s not the Putin I knew. That’s not him at all.