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This Blacksmith Disrupted The Launch Of Ed Miliband's Giant Stone With A Horse "The Size Of A Hippo"

Green party parliamentary candidate Jake Bowers did his best to ruin Ed Miliband's big day with a frisky logging horse named Luna. The Labour leader then invited him onto his bus for a chat.

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Ed Miliband's decision to unveil a massive eight-foot stone tablet containing Labour's general election pledges has attracted an awful lot of attention. But the launch was almost derailed by an irate blacksmith with a giant horse.

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Jake Bowers did his best to ruin the Labour leader's big day by ensuring that almost every shot of the stone included Green party banners in the background.

Look closely at images from the unveiling of the slab and – despite Labour supporters doing their best to block the backdrop – you'll see a poster for the Greens in the background.

The giant stone, which could be transplanted to the Downing Street garden if Miliband becomes prime minister, was unveiled amid great secrecy on Saturday.

Here is the Labour tablet of stone. In the background: a Green Party poster and a horse. #ge2015

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The launch took place in the car park of Hastings Academy, a school in Ore, East Sussex. Journalists who were present at the event abided by an agreement to keep the details under embargo until Sunday morning.

Unfortunately for Labour, Bowers, the local Green party candidate, happened to live next door and popped over with his horse.

Meet Luna, a 6-year-old Ardennes working horse. Bowers said Labour officials were not happy that he and his giant horse had decided to attend the event.

Jake Bowers

"It’s the school where my kids go and I had as much right to be there as Miliband," Bowers told BuzzFeed News. "A lot of local parents are quite upset that a school’s been used for political purposes. It was only this morning when I realised what they were unveiling... They were unveiling his epitaph."

The Green party candidate, who works as a blacksmith, said he normally campaigns with his horse and it was completely by chance that Miliband chose to unveil his slab of limestone in a car park at the end of Bowers' road: "It's 200 metres away from my house – he came to me."

Bowers claimed Labour officials tried to remove him and his horse from the school grounds and stop ruining the event.

Jake Bowers

"They threatened to evict us and call the police," he claimed. "I said that as a candidate in this election I just want to see what you’re doing. It’s not criminal trespass. They called the weekend caretaker and he asked me to leave and I said no. Under civil law you’re allowed to use reasonable force and I wondered how they would enforce that with a one tonne horse – it's the size of a hippo. He almost had a breakdown and called his boss."

Sussex police did not return calls requesting confirmation that officers were asked to intervene.

Bowers insisted the event shows the limits of political media events.

He said Labour's decision to launch the slab in an isolated car park "enabled them to stage-manage it".

"[Ore] is supposed to be a Labour stronghold, it's a stage-managed event and they got 30 people there. But we got 10 Green party people there in five minutes. I'd out-strategied them by bringing a horse and tethering it."

Eventually the Labour leader took an interest in this equine annoyance and invited Bowers on to his campaign bus for a chat.

Jake Bowers

"A party apparatchik invited me into the bus. [Miliband's] sitting in the middle of the bus, the local candidate is on the right, next to me is an aide. I talked about the whole background of the local Labour party doing dirty tricks against me and said it's going to happen until you introduce proportional representation and parliament can reflect the views of people on the ground."

Bowers said he felt Miliband was a "decent man at the top of a party that is prone to bullying", and said he hoped he replaced David Cameron as prime minister.

But he complained that the Labour leader allegedly believed his own party was against fracking for shale gas: "I said 'I'd like you to change your policy on fracking'. He said ‘What is our position on fracking?’ and his aide said we’re pro-fracking. He didn’t even know what his own policy was on fracking."

Bowers said he had a chat with Miliband about their different choices of election transport.

Jake Bowers

"As blokes compare motors, we compared our battlebuses, and mine has a damn sight more air."

He also intends to keep riding Luna around the constituency on the campaign trail: "Luna's used for horse logging in the woods of Sussex. She may actually be pregnant from my other horse, Rocky – they had a night of passion in my garden recently."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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