Conservative MP Henry Smith has admitted to his local newspaper that his own wife doesn’t agree with him when it comes to opposing equal marriage.

The MP for Crawley in West Sussex told Crawley News: “I think redefining the term marriage to include civil partnerships would be very offensive to people of faith.

“I have had more than 300 Christians and Muslims write to me from across Crawley with their concerns, with only two or three letters in favour.

“They worry that a redefinition will lead to them having to conduct same-sex weddings in their mosques and churches”.

Mentioning his wife Jennifer Millar-Smith, the MP added: “My wife thinks differently on this and I have homosexual friends on the borough council who are in favour as well.”

Mr Smith is among more than one hundred Conservative MPs who have indicated their unease on the issue.

In response, Labour Councillor Chris Oxlade expressed his surprise at Mr Smith’s decision.

He said: “I’m genuinely surprised Henry isn’t backing the idea as he has always been an advocate for gay rights.

“This is a genuine drive towards equality.”

An online petition has now been set up to encourage Mr Smith to change his mind.

He is not the first politician to be at odds with a spouse over the issue of equal marriage.

Last month, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy told Vogue that she disagrees with her husband’s stated position to oppose marriage equality for gay couples.

In 2010, Laura Bush, the wife of George W Bush who previously endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage as US president, declared that she was in favour of marriage rights for gay couples while her husband was not.