The National:

LIKE fuel shortages and rationing, another relic we hoped had been consigned to the past has returned.

Having flouted his own Covid rules to have an extra marital affair in his governmental office, Matt Hancock has made a brave comeback to public life.

The Tory MP naturally took a time for some quiet contemplation – aka body boarding in Cornwall –before stepping back into the limelight.

And he’s back with a bang.

The former Cabinet minister delighted locals as he showcased his unparalleled knack for self-awareness in a 50-second clip posted on his social media profile.

The video, which is reportedly being used for training purposes by Steve Coogan, showed Hancock “out and about” in his local constituency following his very public humiliation in the summer.

Locals, at least in the clips that were selected for broadcast, claimed with a straight face that is was “very nice” to see him.

“We’ve got though it haven’t we … now we’re coming out the other side,” Hancock replied.

Expertly highlighting his everyman qualities, the fist-bumping former health secretary chatted and bantered with voters like a true pro.

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The only problem is most people considered it to be a professional impression of Alan Partridge.

“This is awful,” one Twitter user replied.

Another wrote: “This is absolutely incredible – it’s more Partridge than actual Alan Partridge.”

A further comment read: “I wonder how many hours of footage they had to shoot in order to get 50 seconds’ worth of people not abusing him.”

Someone else asked: “This isn’t a BBC2 comedy is it?”

Another quipped: “The Thick of It is back!”

The clip was also dubbed “beyond parody”, “grim” and “the most pathetic, self-indulgent load of claptrap I’ve seen in years”.

We suspect it’s not exactly the reception Hancock was hoping for…