Liz Truss and husband Hugh O’Leary’s disastrous first date: ‘Literally fell for you!’

Liz Truss clashes with host over Margaret Thatcher comparison

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Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will go head-to-head in the coming weeks to clinch the Conservative leadership race. Both hail from the right-wing of the party, with many commentators billing the face-off as a “blue on blue dogfight”. The most recent vote saw three candidates — Penny Mordaunt eliminated — whittled down to two, maintaining Mr Sunak’s lead with 137 votes.

Ms Truss had in fact trailed Ms Mordaunt in previous votes, but this time round took 113 — only a slither ahead of Ms Mordaunt’s 105.

While she has struggled in recent weeks, Ms Truss remains the favourite among Conservative party members, polling suggests.

Those members will decide who will become Prime Minister in a vote next month, the new leader coming into power in early September.

It is not the first time Ms Truss has moved to become Conservative leader and Prime Minister, having challenged Boris Johnson in 2019.

She has a lengthy career in politics, stemming from the late Nineties when she served as the chair of the Lewisham Deptford Conservative Association between 1998 and 2000.

It was around this time that she began dating Hugh O’Leary, a trained accountant like herself.

The pair met at the Conservative party Conference in 1997, and agreed to go on a date after the event.

While romantic, that first date ended in despair after Mr O’Leary ended up spraining his ankle ice-skating.

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Recounting the episode to You Magazine in 2019 during her leadership bid, and when it was put to her that Mr O’Leary “literally fell for you,” she replied: “I’ve always enjoyed winter sports.”

The pair tied the knot in 2000, and during the interview, Ms Truss said: “I am really happily married.”

Things were not all as straightforward for the couple, however.

In 2006, Ms Truss found herself at the centre of a scandal after her affair with former Tory MP Mark Field went public.

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She was just 25 at the time and had shown a flair for politics after slimming a Labour majority in Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, from 24,000 votes to under 16,000.

Mr Field — then Shadow Minister for London — was assigned as her political mentor, and the two quickly engaged in a romance that lasted around 18 months.

The Daily Mail broke the news of their relationship, which resulted in the end of his 12-year marriage.

Ms Truss and Mr O’Leary, however, remained strong, the accountant forgiving his wife.

She has since publicly declared her love on numerous occasions for Mr O’Leary, in 2019 posting an image of them together on social media with the caption: “Love of my life.”

Speaking to You, she joked that their shared love of numbers meant that she always had someone to speak to about the complex issues of the economy.

She said: “Whenever I want a late night discussion about supply side reform or econometrics, there’s always someone on hand.”

The pair have two daughters, Liberty Frances, aged around 15 and 12 respectively.

They live in Downham Market, Norfolk (Ms Truss is MP for South West Norfolk), and split their time between there and London.

Meanwhile, as she and Mr Sunak gear up to win the trust of the party’s voters, commentators are expecting a fierce war of words.

Many say that Mr Sunak will have to draw attention to Ms Truss’ Remainer past if he has any chance of winning over Tory voters.

Polls for party members will close on September 2, and Mr Johnson’s successor will be announced three days later.

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