SPECIAL REPORT: Henry Smith has been re-elected as MP for Crawley but what do we know about the man behind the suit?

Henry Smith at the Election count at K2 Crawley, West Sussex (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150805-042531008
Henry Smith at the Election count at K2 Crawley, West Sussex (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150805-042531008

Henry Smith has been part of the political scene in Crawley for 18 years with at least five more to come.

A member of the Conservative Party, we know many things about the man who represents our town in Parliament.

We know he lost by 37 votes to Laura Moffatt in the 2005 General Election, we know he used to be leader of West Sussex County Council and we know he dressed as Spider-man to take part in a charity abseil.

What we didn’t know was he has been a vegetarian all his adult life and has a thing about flags – apparently it’s called being a vexillologist.

Henry was born and brought up in Surrey and attended University College London.

He moved to Crawley 21 years ago after marrying Jennifer. She took up a role at Crawley Hospital while Henry started a mortgage advice business in Manor Royal.

Stamp duty, base rates and portability were clearly nowhere near as exciting as elections, cabinet meetings and all things political and Henry was soon bitten by the council bug.

Elected to West Sussex County Council in 1997, he represented Furnace Green and Maidenbower before being named leader of the council in 2003.

He held that position for seven years, during which time he made his first grab for a seat in the House of Commons in 2005.

To lose by just 37 votes would have been enough to put off some people, especially as it was the narrowest defeat in the country – and for your opponent to then tattoo her victory number on her foot must have smarted.

Ever the vexillologist, though, Henry flew the flag for determination and returned to his county council work, his sights firmly set on the 2010 election.

With Mrs Moffatt and her tattooed foot dropping out at the last minute, Henry found himself romping to a relatively simple victory.

Next stop, the House of Commons and arguably one of the best work-place views in the world, where you have absolutely no excuse for not knowing the time.

Henry has certainly had an eventful five years.

He has rebelled against the Government on the issue of same-sex marriage and called the most powerful man in Russia an extremely rude name on Twitter.

In Henry’s defence, Vladimir Putin had been equally as rude to the UK at the G20 summit of 2013, so fair’s fair.

On the home front, Henry has served as governor at three Crawley schools and he and Jennifer have two children.

Daughter Georgia was born in East Surrey Hospital in 2003 and was followed by a son, Isaac, in 2006.

The couple was devastated when their son, Ethan, was stillborn in the same hospital in 2005.

What the future holds for Henry is anyone’s guess – there are plenty of other world leaders out there to take on on social media – but for now his aims are simple.

He said: “This week I turn 46 years old and am looking forward to getting back to work as our town’s representative in Parliament.

“I want see our economy grow further still so we can improve opportunity for our young people and fund decent public services.”