Monday 27 April 2015 5:26 am

General Election 2015: Spinning out of control? Small business letter of support sent from CCHQ address, includes dissolved businesses

Are the Conservatives caught in a PR tailspin of their own making? 
The Tories may have got the backing of several thousand small businesses, but it seems that this support was not quite as spontaneous as it may appear.
Labour supporters are highlighting how the letter was sent from a CCHQ address, and that the call for small businesses to support the Tories in fact started life as an online petition. 
It was apparently written – or at the very least endorsed – by Tory peer and The Apprentice co-host Karren Brady. As well as appearing as a petition on the Conservative website, it was sent out as an email to people who had signed up to receive the party's General Election campaign updates. 



This has been pointed out by many people on Twitter, who argue it undermines the claim that the Tories have spontaneous support from the small business community.
Already at least one company has requested their name be taken off the list, claiming they had not signed the letter.
Another one appears to be a case of mistaken identity… though some questions will be asked around the fact that this person is a Conservative candidate for South Belfast.
And he wasn't the only one.
Not only that, some of the companies on the list are either dissolved or don't appear to exist.
At least some of the small business owners are genuine.
Jo Malone, who set up the eponymous perfume brand, has gone on the BBC to explain that she is backing the Tories because a change in government would be "risky" at this stage in the economic recovery. 
But coming so hot on the heels of Wikipedia's claims about Grant Shapps, the Tories' reputation for honesty is definitely taking a bit of a bashing.