New polling figures have illustrated exactly why a split could be an electoral disaster for Labour

Mark Sands
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Labour voters must hope Jeremy Corbyn doesn't peddle away from the party entirely (Source: Getty)

New figures from YouGov have lain bare the dangers of a party split for Labour, with just over six weeks left in its leadership contest.

Labour will choose between incumbent Jeremy Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith on September 24, but speculation has been rife that the party could split if Corbyn remains as leader.

Labour donor John Mills said yesterday that such a divide would be “Armageddon” for the party's Westminster hopes, and new YouGov research now shows exactly what that might mean.

The pollster asked almost 5,000 Britons which way they would vote in the case of Labour split, with either the party's right or left wing breaking away.

If the break was initiated by the right, then both Labour groups would get 34 per cent of the vote, with 21 per cent staying with Labour and 13 per cent backing the new faction.

Similarly, if a Corbyn-led faction split from the rest of the party, both groups would get 33 per cent of the vote, with 14 per cent supporting the separatists, and 19 per cent backing the Labour remainder.

Yougov polling on a Labour split

The figures show that support for Labour and a splinter party would be roughly the same, and that regardless of which side makes the break it would be the separatists losing out.

YouGov political and social research director Anthony Well said that hypothetically, a split could see the two parties gaining a greater share of the vote.

However, he adds that this would only translate into results at an election if those voters are sufficiently localised to allow the parties to actually win seats.

“In our current First Past the Post electoral system splitting the Labour vote this way would be disastrous for them unless their votes were strongly geographically concentrated,” he said.

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