A leisurely election tour around a factory turned sour for Ed Miliband on Thursday, when a disgruntled voter confronted the Labour leader and said that many working class people were "leaning towards Ukip".
Peter Baldwin, an electrician at BAE systems, approached Miliband during a visit by the leader to the jet fighter factory in Lancashire.
Baldwin said to Miliband: "At this moment in time I don't feel like voting Labour.
"This morning we sat in the brew room over there...and they are all leaning now towards Ukip. The question on everybody's mind is the referendum. I know what you're going to say. The working class man in here…"
Miliband, who was nodding along as he listened to Baldwin, interrupted the worker to say: "Immigration is the big issue for lots of people. On immigration, what we say is, when people come here they shouldn't get benefits for the first two years and then we should ensure that don’t allow wages to be under cut."
Baldwin responded: "There's too many people here that's why we got all these people out of work".
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
1/6 Settled Silvers
These are the comfortably-off over-60s, still in work or drawing a decent pension – or both – who are enjoying their entitlements such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus passes and free TV licence. They are worried about immigration and Europe. Both the Conservatives – who are pledging to keep benefits for wealthier pensioners – and Ukip want their votes
2/6 Squeezed Semis
Slightly older than the Harassed Hipsters, they are the second key group for Labour’s family-focused election strategy. They are married couples on low to middle incomes who own unpretentious semi-detached homes in suburban areas. In 2001, these were the Pebbledash People sought by the Conservatives. Now the pebbledash is gone and a modest conservatory has been built at the back
3/6 Aldi Woman
In 1997 and 2001 she was Worcester Woman – a middle-class Middle Englander shopping at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Today, the age of austerity means she still goes to Waitrose for her basic food shop but cannily switches to Aldi for her luxury bargains such as Parma ham and prosecco. Identified by Caroline Flint, she is a key target of both Labour and the Conservatives
4/6 Glass Ceiling Woman
In her thirties or forties, she has an established career under her belt, perhaps in the “marzipan layer” – one position below the still male-dominated senior executive level. She is now, according to Nick Clegg, forced into making the “heart-breaking choice” between staying at home to bring up her children and going to work and forking out for high-cost, round-the-clock childcare
5/6 Harassed Hipsters
One of the two key groups identified by Labour as crucial to hand Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street. Well-paid professional couples, often with children, they live in diverse urban and metropolitan areas rather than the suburbs. More comfortably off than most swing voters, they are time poor – struggling to balance raising a young family with busy work schedules
These are mainly first-time voters, though some are in their twenties – students and digital-age generation renters helping to fuel the “Green Surge”. Idealists, but with no tribal loyalty to any party, they are anti-austerity, middle class, living in urban areas. Despite studying at university or recently graduated, they are struggling to find decent jobs and want cheaper housing and a higher minimum wage
Miliband then replied: "I think we can actually get low-skilled immigration down if we clamp down on the benefits and stop the employers exploiting people. Part of the problem we've got – not companies like BAE – (but with) other companies, what you end up with is: workers paid less than the minimum wage, 15 people put in their house, and people say, 'Hang on a minute, that can't be right, we've got to do something about that."
Baldwin later spoke to The Telegraph about his meeting with Miliband, describing the Labour leader as sounding like a "public schoolboy", adding that "the Labour Party lost a lot of its values. They have always been the working man's party, they're drifting away from that."
Speaking to the BBC, he added: "Basically they are just not happy with Labour at the moment. The big thing with the working class man is immigration and Europe."
Mr Miliband said he did not believe Ukip was the part of working people.Reuse content