Gareth speaks! The man who inspired Ed Miliband revealed

Gareth was mentioned three times by the Labour leader during his conference speech. But who exactly is he?

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The Independent Online

Ed Miliband's conference speech almost read like a political version of Lou Bega's Mambo No. 5: there was Josephine, Xiomara, Rosie, Elizabeth and...Gareth.

It was the latter name that caught the attention of many, mainly because Miliband seemed so enamoured by a random guy who was "high up at a software company".

The audience was told about Gareth three times: about his decent job, his lovely daughter and the fact that he still couldn't afford to buy a house. Miliband even met all of Gareth's work mates and the Labour leader was inspired by a software company "full of bright, savvy young people, full of great enthusiasm".

Now, for a man struggling to appear normal, approachable and less goofy to a sceptical public, informing everyone that your great motivation before the next election was a bloke you met in a park called Gareth and a bunch of IT nerds, it wasn't exactly the best course of action.

Still, it did get Gareth trending higher on Twitter than some air strikes going on in Syria.

However, some felt Gareth might just be a figment of Miliband's imagination.

 Just as cynics began to question whether Gareth and Miliband's other "real people" were indeed "real," Gareth was identified.

A Cambridge graduate in Natural Sciences, Gareth Edwards is a technical consultant at Softwire, where he has been since 2000 according to his LinkedIn page.

Gareth was soon inundated with phone calls from the media and he went along to Newsnight to prove he did in fact exist and he even watched Miliband's speech.

He even had perhaps the best caption ever written in Newsnight history: "Gareth, Met Ed Miliband on Hampstead Heath".

So, what did the man who so inspired Labour's often monotonous leader think of Miliband's words?

"I think this is the first conference speech I've ever watched and I hope it will be my last."

Oh dear. Not a ringing endorsement.

However, Gareth did add that "some of the things he said in his speech sounded quite sensible," but stressed that this was "an hour long speech by a politician," so it was never going to be his cup of HTML. He's a dare-devil IT consultant, remember. He's got better things to do.

Such as deal with his new found fame: he told the BBC's Emily Matliss, "I thought I'd get kind of one mention and maybe one call from a journalist, but the phone's been off the hook today. It's been quite a surreal day."

Not as surreal as the insight into Miliband's day-to-day life we gleaned from his speech, where he chats with people on the Heath and even has a good chin wag with a scaffolder.

Xiomara, another one of the people mentioned by Miliband, may also need more convincing to vote Labour, just like Gareth. After her encounter with Miliband, the Labour leader visited her restaurant and left her a note.

She jokingly replied, "Sorry I was off it's going to take more to change my vote though".