‘I did it for dad’

Thomas Smith with Manjeet Gill
Thomas Smith with Manjeet Gill

A determined student inspired by his late father’s wish that being disabled would not hold him back has just become the youngest ever West Lindsey District councillor.

At only 20 years old first-time elector Thomas Smith, from Linwood, has stormed to victory with 1,523 votes to become a Conservative district councillor for Market Rasen.

And in the moments after the incredible win, it was his late father Neil who Thomas credited for his success.

The humble student, who decided he wanted to be an MP at age eight, said: “It’s amazing, I’m speechless. I can’t put it into words. I wasn’t expecting this.

“My father made me more determined to do this.

“He always encouraged me to do well in anything I was passionate about and not let my disability hold me back.

“I thought - ‘that’s what he wants me to do’.”

Thomas has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

His father Neil Smith was killed in a car crash six years ago when Thomas was just 15, and at St Francis Special School in Lincoln.

Thomas, who lives with his mother, is now at Franklin College in Grimsby where he is studying government and politics, public services and IT.

He said: “I’d love to be an MP - I’m one of those strange people. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was eight.

“I’m the first in my family to be this politically active.

“I have two sisters but they’re not interested in 

Thomas is chairman of Gainsborough youth political group Conservative Future - and believes he can make a real difference in Market Rasen.

“First I want to get acquainted with how the council works and get a feel for what local people’s concerns are.

“I’ll try to work through them to get the Market Rasen they want,” he said.

Thomas said he was attracted to the Conservative party for its values of “personal responsibility, limited interference from the state, an open and free market”.

He said: “Conservatism is about cherishing our traditions, independent thought and having the will and determination to stand up for what you believe in.”

Reflecting on his father’s RAF career, Thomas said “defence of the realm” was the government’s first priority.

Thomas will represent Market Rasen alongside Conservative councillors Hugo Marfleet and John McNeill.