Labour faces “Armageddon” if it divides the aftermath of this summer's leadership challenge, according to the party's largest individual donor.
The party is set to choose a new leader on September 24, but millionaire businessman John Mills said failure to unite afterward the contest would be a disaster for its electoral prospects.
“I really hope the Labour Party doesn't split,” Mills said today.
“You are then going to split the left-of-centre vote and I'd have thought this really would be Armageddon for members of parliament ... the downsides of having a split are so huge.”
A majority shareholder of import-export and distribution company JML, he donated £1.65m in shares in his company in 2013, and has also made cash donations, including £10,000 ahead of last year's national election.
However, he warned of the growing popularity of Ukip among Labour voters, and said that his party could lose as many as 50 seats across the midlands and the north of England.
"If Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected ... there is really nothing much it can do if it isn't going to split except for the Labour MPs just to buckle down and wait for the situation to change, maybe wait for Corbyn's support among the Labour Party to start slipping," Mills said.
"Politics is all about ups and downs ... I don't think that the long term prospects of the Labour Party are necessarily as dire as they might appear but obviously there is huge amount to pull back from where we are now."