Labour leader Ed Miliband meets Marvin Rees - in George Ferguson's bar
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband made a flying visit to Bristol to meet up with mayoral candidate Marvin Rees – at a waterfront bar part-owned by one of his opponents for the city's top political job.
The venue chosen for the "meet and greet" with the party faithful was No.1 Harbourside, pictured below, in which Independent candidate George Ferguson has a 25 per cent stake.
Kevin Slocombe, Mr Rees' campaign manager, said they realised the connection while choosing a suitable location.
He said: "It's not a problem as far as we are concerned.
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"From our point of view, it's an ideal location in the centre of the city so why should we be concerned about who owns it?
"We are inclusive about everything in this city – including the owner of this bar."
Mr Ferguson said: "I thought it was hilarious when I heard about this.
"I don't mind them using it at all – I welcome people from all parties and all walks of life to use it."
During his visit, Mr Miliband told the Post that he would support Mr Rees in providing powers to sort out the city's awful traffic congestion.
Mr Rees and other candidates have said they want to see an independent transport authority set up to make it easier to travel in the area.
Both London and Manchester have these bodies which have made sure the cities have fast, reliable and relatively cheap public transport.
Mr Miliband said: "I will support Marvin's call on transport by giving him the proper powers over transport.
"Everybody in Bristol knows that transport is a massive issue and it's totally right that something is done about it.
"Marvin has a 'can do' policy about some of these long-standing issues in the city and we are going to help him solve them."
Mr Rees said: "It's vital that we have a clear sense from the centre that it's not acceptable in Britain in this modern age not to have a functional, integrated modern transport system.
"If that message is coming out from the centre, then obviously it gives more support to those regions which are trying to sort it out so we do have a system which is fit for purpose for a modern thriving economy."
He said it would be critical to have the chance to work in tandem with national government so the case for Bristol can be made.
During his visit, Mr Miliband mingled with Mr Rees' supporters on the terrace outside the bar before a rousing speech to party members inside.
Mr Miliband described Mr Rees as a brilliant candidate who was incredibly committed to the future of the city.
Mr Miliband told him: "You are running a One Nation campaign in which you are saying that no one in the city should be left out if Bristol is going to succeed."