17/09/2015 05:27 BST | Updated 17/09/2015 05:59 BST

Labour Donor Assem Allam Says He Will Fund Breakaway MPs To Defect From Jeremy Corbyn

A millionaire donor has offered to support Labour MPs who want to break away from the party after Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader.

Hull City football club owner Assem Allam, who has donated £720,000 to Labour since 2010, said "Comrade Corbyn" could not provide a "strong opposition", and that would fund moderate figures prepared to launch a centrist party, or defect to the Liberal Democrats.

Allam told The Times he would "do anything I can" to support moderate MPs as he warned "Labour under Comrade Corbyn will not make a government".

Allam is the owner of Hull City

Allam warned the Labour party could face three further election defeats because of Corbyn's leadership.

The tycoon refused to name the amount he is willing to contribute but pointed out that he has given Labour half a million pounds this year and £220,000 before that.

"I will do anything I can if I am convinced they can form a strong opposition," he told The Times.

"You'll never have a strong opposition with this regime. I did warn Ed Miliband many times that if you go to the left side, you'll lose an election and he did.

"Corbyn is more left than Ed Miliband. We have seen in real life Tony Blair, to the right of Labour party, win an election three times ... That's a lesson that people should read.

"Labour under Comrade Corbyn will not make a government. The damage has been done, it will take a minimum two to three elections to recover."

Corbyn was elected as Labour leader in a landslide vote last week

The hashtag #LabourTigers was used by some on Twitter to discuss his offer - referring to Allam's attempts to change Hull City's name to Hull Tigers, which are unpopular with fans.

The football side has a tiger as its logo, and he has tried several times to officially rebrand the club but his latest name change attempt was rejected by the Football Association in July.

But show business agent Michael Foster, who has given Labour £420,000 since 2013, told the Times he had backed Corbyn and would continue "to give as much under Jeremy Corbyn as I did under any other leaders".

Allam's comments came as Corbyn appeared to rule out campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union and signalled a softer stance on a range of policy positions in an attempt to avoid further splits with his shadow cabinet.

The Labour leader, who had previously kept the door open for a campaign to leave the EU, said he could not envisage a position where he would recommend a vote to sever ties with Brussels even if David Cameron's renegotiations delivered a deal he did not like.

The new leader's comments come after shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn said the party would not "walk away" from Europe and shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer threatened to resign if Labour adopted a policy of campaigning for Brexit.

Corbyn also said that he would not attempt to dictate policy in other areas, including his personal opposition to the Trident nuclear deterrent or welfare cap, where he has clashed with members of his top team.


Instead, he said he would attempt to persuade them of his views but indicated that he would accept the outcome of the policy-making process.

But he stressed the mandate he had received in his leadership victory and hinted at changes to give the party's grassroots - whose support helped him win - a greater say over Labour's policy platform.

Corbyn maintained his position that he would not give Mr Cameron a "blank cheque" in his plan to renegotiate the UK's ties with Brussels ahead of the promised in/out referendum and said he wanted to see a "social Europe" rather than a "free market Europe".

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