"Are you the coolest man in politics?"

Mr Young, who teaches English to high school pupils, said on Sunday: “I found a man that was more captivating than I expected. He had a self-deprecating humour and he was real and honest.”

Asked whether he was not uneasy about Mr Putin’s repressive politics and brutal reputation, Mr Young said: “I’m aware of it, but I am interested in his views on preservation. I have separated the two”.