Hugh O’Leary: Who is Liz Truss’s husband and the country’s next first man?

·2-min read
Hugh O’Leary: Who is Liz Truss’s husband and the country’s next first man?

Grinning at the victorious Tory leadership candidate as Liz Truss learned of her imminent accession to No 10 was Hugh O’Leary, her husband, who has largely stayed out of the spotlight.

The accountant and soon-to-be new first man has his own political story to tell, though his career with the Conservatives took quite a different trajectory to his wife’s at an early stage.

Born in 1974, Mr O’Leary was reportedly brought up in Allerton, Liverpool, and went on to study at the London School of Economics.

He met his future wife at the 1997 Conservative Party conference.

Ms Truss has previously hinted at something of an awkward first date for the pair, as she told You Magazine: “I invited him ice skating and he sprained his ankle.”

Liz Truss with her husband Hugh O’Leary (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Liz Truss with her husband Hugh O’Leary (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Making his own venture into politics, Mr O’Leary stood as a Tory candidate in the local elections in Greenwich in 2002.

But with 447 votes, he fell far short of the support required to beat his Labour rivals, records show.

He has continued to play a role in the party, according to The Times, canvassing in Greenwich as recently as this year.

The newspaper cited a local former politician as saying he is “very intelligent, very interested” and “very supportive to Liz”.

However, things have not always been plain sailing for the couple.

Ms Truss’s public image hit the rocks in 2006 after it emerged she had an affair with married Conservative MP Mark Field.

Hugh O’Leary has stood beside his wife despite infidelity (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Hugh O’Leary has stood beside his wife despite infidelity (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Her candidacy for her Norfolk seat three years later narrowly survived an attempt by traditionalist members of her local Tory association to deselect her following the ordeal.

According to the BBC, she said at the time of the row: “It’s been public for some years now.

“I am really sorry about that (affair). It’s a mistake I made and as far as me and my husband are concerned it’s water under the bridge.”

Mr O’Leary has stood by his wife.

In response to questioning about her infidelity, he reportedly told the Daily Mail: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

In the You Magazine interview, published in 2019, Ms Truss said: “I am really happily married.”

And on Valentine’s Day that year, she shared a picture of them both with the caption: “Love of my life.”

Margaret Thatcher’s husband, Denis, played a key role supporting her behind the scenes, while Theresa May described her husband Philip as her “rock”.

It remains to be seen what kind of first man Mr O’Leary will be.