Ukip in scramble to drum-up support of small businesses, leaked email shows

Ukip has launched a desperate attempt to persuade parliamentary candidates and activists across Britain to drum up support for a letter declaring that the party is the champion of small businesses, according to a leaked email covered by The Guardian.

In a sign the party is struggling to win support among small business leaders, Ukip’s head of candidates, David Soutter, has issued a “very urgent” appeal to activists to provide 15 signatures per region.

The move, which shows that the party wants to follow others in grabbing headlines with supportive letters, came as Nigel Farage suggested Ukip and Tory supporters should vote tactically to benefit each party.

In a Sunday Telegraph interview, Farage suggested Ukip voters should help the Tories in areas where his party stands no chance. Tories should do the same in areas where they stand no chance. “Of course, it’s a complex electoral system and people have to use their votes as wisely as they can,” Farage said.

The leaked Ukip email suggests the party is trailing the Tories in winning the support of small businesses. In the internal email Soutter writes: “I have sent three requests for help with this matter and I thank those who have already replied. I need the names of small and medium business people who are willing to sign a letter endorsing Ukip’s position on business etc.

“This is very important task for you, please try and assist by providing 15 names per region. This is very URGENT and I need the names as soon as possible.”

The proposed Ukip letter states: “It would seem to us that while Labour now risks being perceived as the anti-business party and the Conservatives can lay claim to being the big business party, Ukip has emerged as the party of small business.

“As people engaged in running some of the small enterprises that will create the bulk of new employment in this country in the years ahead, we are greatly encouraged to find a political champion in Ukip.”