Ed Miliband referred twice to a man called Gareth, a software developer, in Labour conference speech. Gareth speaks exclusively to Channel 4 News and says he is still deciding whether to vote Labour.
Gareth Edwards told us that he lives in north London, and had not thought that one meeting with Miliband would lead to this.
“My company has an afternoon off at Hampsted Heath each year. I was walking home and Ed was there. He came and said hello.”
“[Ed Miliband] asked me what do you think is the biggest problem in the country at the moment. I said that I thought the thing is that living in London is something that’s an obvious problem is housing.”
“I didn’t watch the speech. Since my name got mentioned I had enough other distractions.”
Miliband had said at the Labour conference: “Gareth is pretty high up at a software company, but still can’t afford to buy a home for his family. Because he’s simply being priced out by the richest.
“He thinks that unless you’re one of a very few, then the likelihood is that your kids will have a harder life than you. So the task is to restore people’s faith in the future.”
Gareth says he is not a Labour voter.
“Well, last time I voted Lib Dem. I wouldn’t again. I couldn’t vote Tory so I guess I am. [Miliband] impressed me. Didn’t know him well beforehand. Some very sincere stuff.”
“I thought he was likeable in person, sincrere, interested and engaged. Certainly thought it was an interesting meeting. Came away with more positive impression.”
“I think I’m more inclined to the general Labour party. But it wasn’t a specific thing. It was more him asking me what I thought rather than suggesting his own opinion.”
And what happened when his collegues at Softwire found out?
“I gather all work has stopped. They’re clustering around various screens.”
Miliband continued later in his speech: “I told you about Gareth earlier – I didn’t just meet him, I met a lot of his colleagues. And do you know what shines through for me about his company? It is full of brilliant, savvy, young people with great enthusiasm.”
That’s Gareth, back left RT @pimterry: Ed Miliband happened to stop by the annual @SoftwireUK picnic. As you do. pic.twitter.com/YAN81vjzLU
— Softwire Technology (@SoftwireUK) September 23, 2014