The Daily Telegraph

The quiet, stoic husband who will stand by the new PM’S side

- By Rosa Silverman and Helen Chandler-wilde

WHEN Liz Truss was announced as the leader of the Conservati­ve Party yesterday, the nation got a rare glimpse of her husband, Hugh O’leary.

The 48-year-old made no public appearance on the campaign trail, with Ms Truss telling The Daily Telegraph at the start of the race to replace Boris Johnson: “He doesn’t want to have a sort of massive public role”.

She described her accountant husband as a “very stoic person” who is supportive of her career, adding that he still has an active role as “a local Conservati­ve member”.

Ms Truss and Mr O’leary have been married since 2000, after meeting at the 1997 Conservati­ve Party conference. Their first date was at an ice-skating rink, where the evening unfortunat­ely ended in Mr O’leary spraining his ankle.

Born in 1974, Mr O’leary was reportedly brought up in Allerton, Liverpool, before going on to study at the London School of Economics.

In a speech in 2018, Ms Truss praised the university, where he studied econometri­cs and mathematic­al economics from 1992 to 1995, for producing her “brilliant husband”.

She quipped: “It means that whenever I want a late-night discussion about supply-side reform or econometri­cs, there’s always someone on hand.”

An LSE alumni page lists Mr O’leary as a finance director at Affinity Global Real Estate, which co-owns and manages a commercial real estate portfolio worth more than £160 million.

In 2002 he made his own venture into politics, standing as a Tory candidate in the local elections in Greenwich. But with 447 votes, he fell far short of the support required to beat his rivals, records show.

Ms Truss’s public image hit the rocks

‘Whenever I want a latenight discussion about econometri­cs, there’s always someone on hand’

in 2006 after it emerged she had an affair with married Conservati­ve MP Mark Field. 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 revelation. 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.” According to the neighbours at their home in Ms Truss’s South West Norfolk constituen­cy, Mr O’leary is a quiet presence, sometimes seen pottering about in the garden. He is friendly and stops to talk about cars.

The consensus on the street is that Mr O’leary tries to keep out of his wife’s career. “I think he keeps out of politics – clearly he’s got more sense,” laughed one neighbour.

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