LABOUR leader Ed Miliband failed to identify who the party’s Swindon leader Jim Grant was or even his own party’s status on the council, in BBC Wiltshire radio interview yesterday.
The party had put up Mr Miliband for an interview on Ben Prater’s show shortly after 8.30am, when he tripped up in his description of what Labour is doing in Swindon.
Asked what he made of Jim Grant, the Labour leader in Swindon, Mr Miliband needed the presenter to tell him who exactly Cllr Grant was.
Despite not knowing who he was, Mr Miliband said: “He’s doing a good job as leader of the council, Jim is, and I think that’s the case.
“I know that Jim is doing a good job for Swindon, he’s doing a good job as leader of the council.”
Mr Miliband was then corrected by the presenter, who clarified the council is Conservative-controlled. The Doncaster North MP promptly backtracked.
“He’s doing a good job for Labour on the council,” he said.
Conservative council leader David Renard (Haydon Wick), said he tuned into the show especially and found it hard to hold back his laughter.
“I haven’t laughed as much at the radio in a long time,” he said. “I suppose I was incredulous he had not been briefed on the particular status of Swindon.
“Most people regard Swindon as a barometer for the political picture nationally. There are two target seats here they want to win in the next election. To not even know those running the council and who the leader of the Labour group is, is astonishing.
“My interpretation was, first of all, I didn’t get the impression he had even heard of Jim Grant, let alone his position in the Labour party or on Swindon Council. It’s quite staggering.”
In the interview, Mr Miliband was also pushed on why he had not made more of an effort to visit Swindon as a part of the campaigning process for his party’s members.
He said: “I’m going to be determined to fight right across this country, including in Swindon, on the issues that matter. I’m going to be in Swindon, definitely, campaigning.
“I’ve been in Swindon, I’ll be coming back to Swindon and it’s very, very important that we make a difference to the people in Swindon because I’m deeply committed to Labour doing well in these elections.”
Cllr Grant said: “Swindon Labour have welcomed Ed Miliband to our town a number of times in recent years, I’m delighted he has pledged to visit again.”
- What Ed said...
Ben Prater: “What do you make of Jim Grant?”
Ed Miliband: “I beg your pardon?”
BP: “Jim Grant, do you think he has done a good job?”
EM: “I think that lots of Labour representatives are doing a good job right across the country and I...”
BP: “You do know who Jim Grant is, Mr Miliband?”
EM: “You will enlighten me, I am sure.”
BP: “Swindon Labour leader.”"
EM: “Yeah, I think he is doing a good job.”
BP: “Will he feel like you support him enough if you don’t even know his name?”
EM: “Well he is doing a good job as leader of the council, Jim is, and I think that is the case.”
BP: “I mean it’s Swindon Labour leader. Do you think by your comments now people might be a bit perplexed by why you wouldn't know who Jim Grant is?”
EM: “No, I know that Jim is doing a good job for Swindon and I think he is doing a good job as leader of the council.”
BP: “But he is not the leader of the council is he, Mr Miliband? It’s a Conservative led council.”
EM: “I think he is doing a good job for Labour on the council. I think he is doing a good job for Labour on the council.”
BP: “So let's be clear. Who runs Swindon council?”
EM: “It’s a Conservative-controlled council.”