Hope is slowly fading for the safe return of Mark Francois, the dull-witted London lad that captured the hearts of a nation with his hilarious impressions of a pompous Tory MP desperately trying to hog the limelight, who has not been seen since early November.
The pint-sized comedic figure, who was employed as Jacob Rees-Moggs jester, became a welcome relief during the tense Brexit votes when news channels got him to perform his signature parody of a boorish MP who believes he is a war hero because he spent a few weekends paintballing in Epping Forest.
His mysterious absence, coupled with the Conservative’s party utter silence on his subject, has stirred up conspiracies theories about his whereabouts. Basildon double-glazing salesman and Territorial Army sergeant, Simon Williams, was one of many who believed online rumours that Mark was being held against his will, or worse, by members of the ERG.
He told us, “Mark wouldn’t miss a drill session. He has great fun running about and always brings a smile on the lads. The wife even made him a little uniform and we let him be the ‘officer’ for a few of the more simple exercises.
“I don’t trust the Tories and I think now that there’s an election they’re ashamed of him. I’m sure they had great fun giving him wine and asking him about the French but they don’t want him on the campaign trail scuttling around voters’ kneecaps. I think they’ve got him in a cage somewhere on a posh estate.”
However, Essex Police have found no evidence of foul play and believe that the most likely case is that, due to his small stature and inquisitive nature, Mark Francois most likely got stuck in a shed somewhere so they urge everyone in the Rayleigh area to check their gardens.