The small business letter on today’s Telegraph front page is really starting to fall apart. We reported this morning that the letter was neither “exclusive”, independent, nor particularly impressive.
While some signatories are asking to have their names removed, it seems other appear several times over:
Spotted so far… 29 people signed their names twice, 5 people signed their name three times….. not even halfway through the list yet
— Sophie Warnes (@SophieWarnes) April 27, 2015
By the time Conservative David Gauke appeared on the Daily Politics today to defend the letter, Andrew Neil was already fully prepared with enough ammunition to take it apart. Describing it as “Tory propaganda” and “a shambles”, Neil ran through a list of those who were not genuine small business owners:
“Number 13 on this list doesn’t actually own a single share in the company that you have associated, number 23 on the list who is an associate of this company but isn’t a director and doesn’t own any shares, number 39 names somebody not a director or a shareholder, number 40 isn’t a director, doesn’t own any shares. One of the signatories is down as Stanley Ward Conservative Club. It’s a shambles!”
Watch the whole toe-curling exchange here:
It’s not Gauke’s first difficult interview of the campaign – last month the Today show’s Sarah Montague skewered him on the Tories’ inability to say where the £12bn of planned welfare cuts will fall.