Labour donor entices rebels with millions to defect over Jeremy Corbyn's leadership

James Nickerson
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Allam said that the country needs a strong opposition (Source: Getty)

A Labour donor has said he will give rebels millions of pounds to defect amid concerns that the party can no longer provide effective opposition.

Dr Assem Allam, who has donated more than half a million pounds to Labour, has said he fears Labour will never be be able to recover after Corbyn's leadership turned the party into a "joke".

Speaking to the Telegraph, Allam said he would fund a "Gang of Four" style defection, referring to the split in the Labour party in the early 1980's that led to the creation of the Social Democratic Party (which later joined with the Liberal Party to eventually create the Liberal Democrats).

Read more: Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson set to meet unions to discuss Jeremy Corbyn's leadership

“I will offer financial help to get things on the right track. Anything other than a joke opposition,” he said.

“If there is any defection from the Labour Party like what we had before – remember how we started the Lib Dems? The Gang of Four?

“If there are any defections similar to this and need financial help I will do my best. We need to have a strong opposition.”

The comments come as Corbyn faces mounting pressure from within his own party to stand down amid speculation that he can't provide robust leadership, especially at a time when a general election could be brewing.

Read more: Angela Eagle says she has the support to run against Jeremy Corbyn

Critics also say he led a lacklustre EU referendum campaign that contributed to the Brexit vote. However, Corbyn disputes the claims, stating that two thirds of Labour supporters back Remain.

Yesterday Corbyn met with Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, who also met with deputy leader Tom Watson, who attempted to broker a deal.

Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle has been expected to be the candidate of choice for the Labour party.

She has said she has the support to challenge Corbyn, but is hoping that he stands aside to avoid another leadership election.

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