‘Sometimes I do 34 in a 30 zone. I’m a maverick”, said Hancock. “I like to get pissed at parties and kiss women. Real women, with breasts. I don’t kiss their breasts, obviously. I’m not an animal.’
Matt Hancock is leaning back in his chair at ten degrees from the horizontal. He’s still a long way from the tipping point but I can sense that he isn’t comfortable, and also a blush has started up his neck. I think it’s because he said ‘breasts’. It’s rising up his cheeks now, and he quickly returns the chair to a stable position and shuffles some papers on his desk. There’s an awkward silence. He looks like a Belisha beacon.
‘I have a leather jacket”, he tells me, apropos of nothing. “Real leather. I look a bit like James Dean in it.’
Matt Hancock is still on a high after surviving another interview and the breast blush is subsiding. I try to imagine James Dean blushing, and fail. Maybe the jacket would help.
‘I shredded Marr”, he tells me with a wink. “He won’t take me on, I’d give him another stroke.';
‘You’ve given him a . . . ?’ I start, but then realise what he’s talking about. Marr’s cerebral bleed.
‘Yes!” Hancock shouts, a little too quickly. “I meant, you know, the vascular accident. I’ve never . . . God, we’re not at boarding school now.’ The blush is back at full strength, and I try to take his mind off masturbating a TV presenter.
‘So you kiss women? That must be fun.’
‘Yes”, he says, but his mind seems to be elsewhere. “It isn’t illegal.’
‘The procurement stuff. I didn’t break any laws. Dom said so.’
Maverick looks at me with a steady gaze. I sense he feels he’s on firmer ground.
‘So . . . those massive contracts – they’re okay?’
“No problems because they’re with, you know, dormant companies run by friends of yours?”
‘I have a leather jacket,’ he says, then tapers off. It’s going to be a long interview.