If Boris and Carrie Johnson’s taste in wallpaper proved embarrassing for them during their tenure in No 10, it’s the cuisine and fine wines to which Liz Truss and her husband, Hugh O’Leary, have become accustomed that are already raising eyebrows.
“Liz will not put up with what she calls school dinner-type meals, which is how she regards the fare served in Downing Street and the restaurants in the Palace of Westminster,” whispers my informant. “She’s already racking up a bill with Deliveroo, sourcing her food through the swanky restaurants she and her husband had time to visit in the old days.”
I’d be surprised if Truss wasn’t already tapping the restaurant at 5 Hertford Street – the private members’ club owned by the Tory donor Robin Birley – for the kind of top-notch grub she loves.
Earlier this year it emerged that, while trade secretary, she had told her officials to bill the taxpayer for a £3,000 slap-up meal with her opposite number in Joe Biden’s administration. The venue agreed to reduce the bill to £1,400, but on condition of immediate payment.
Truss may not have got a trade deal out of it, but she and her aides managed to glug down two measures of dry gin, three bottles of Pazo Barrantes Albariño white wine costing a total of £153, and two bottles of the French red Coudoulet de Beaucastel, costing a total of £130.
A possible turn-off for Truss in terms of visiting 5 Hertford Street in person is that Michael Gove, whom she regards as treacherous after he backed first Kemi Badenoch and then Rishi Sunak in the leadership contest, is a regular there.