Claims that the Tories in Hammersmith have been using underhand tactics to secure the support of small businesses were this week thrown back at Labour campaigners.
Andy Slaughter, the Labour candidate for the constituency, claimed several traders who signed a letter opposing the planned National Insurance rise had no idea their firms would then be used in 'propaganda' from his Conservative opponent, Shaun Bailey.
The letter, marked with various Conservative campaign logos, argues that Labour's planned one per cent increase is a 'tax on jobs' which will come at 'exactly the wrong time in the economic cycle'.
Activists working for Mr Slaughter followed the trail of their Tory counterparts, who days earlier had collected more than 50 signatures from business owners in Shepherd's Bush Road, Blyth Road and North End Road, and claimed to have found several Labour-supporting employers who disagreed with having their names added to the campaign.
They included Rizwana Ali, a Labour candidate for Brent Council whose family business, Rose News, was included on the list of Tory supporters, and who claimed the Conservatives had targeted 'minority-owned businesses and asking them to sign something they didn't understand.'
Mr Slaughter said: "What's happening here is dishonesty. It's conning people into signing something which they wouldn't have signed otherwise, and promoting the Tory party using false information."
But the Tories hit back, insisting no businesses had been duped into signing and the letter had clearly been written by Mr Bailey's local campaign. They then attacked Labour for allegedly handing out their own unmarked letters for traders to ask to be taken off the list of supporters.
A spokesman for Mr Bailey said: "To accuse us of acting 'underhand' is remarkable when you look at the original document shown to the business owners. It was made extremely clear that this was a Conservative campaign and to suggest that we were trying to dupe business owners is not just an attack on us, it is also an attack on the business owners themselves."
He added: "Unlike with our campaign, Labour have not put their own name or logo on the letter they are now trying to get business owners to sign. While they are accusing us of not acting transparently, the facts show that it is actually Labour who are not acting transparently."
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Questions were raised this week over a £16,000 gap in the accounts of a North Kensington charity run by Mr Bailey.
The Charity Commission was asked to look into £15,952 of payments made through MyGeneration, from a budget of around £200,000, with no supporting records.
A spokeswoman for the commission said the charity was not under investigation, but that the issue is being looked into.
She said: "We are assessing this issue in line with normal procedure in order to determine what role, if any, there may be for us."
Mr Bailey dismissed the accounts gap as a teething problem for his organisation, which was set up in 2006 to tackle social challenges facing young people, and claimed he was the victim of a smear campaign by his Labour opponents – although Labour denies any involvement in raising the issue with the Charity Commission.
Mr Bailey said: "MyGeneration is a small charity that has experienced rapid growth. At that time we had a full time staff of only two people responsible for all of the charity's projects and administration. Like many small charities and voluntary organisations, it took us some time to develop the administrative processes.
"It is only my political opponents who have tried to bring the charitable work done by MyGeneration into disrepute. This is the second time Labour have tried to smear me by attacking the charity with no regard for the work it does with the hundreds of youth and families it supports in west London."