A senior figure in Welsh Labour has told The Eye the “awful” victory of Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election will increase pressure for the party in Wales to split off, it has emerged.
The politician, a former minister in the Welsh Government, says the re-election of Mr Corbyn could be “catastrophic” and any ‘purge’ of supporters of his rival, Pontypridd MP Owen Smith, will be “disastrous” for the party.
“These are extremely dangerous times for Labour”, she told us.
“There are bound to be calls for us (Welsh Labour) to go our own way.
“The plain fact is that Jeremy can’t reach out to the people we need to win a General Election.”
The astonishing revelation comes as the full scale of Mr Corbyn’s overwhelming victory on Saturday becomes clear.
He secured almost 62 per cent of the vote, a greater margin than last year – increasing his mandate and grip on the UK party.
Mr Corbyn has promised to “wipe the slate clean” and include his critics in any future discussions because they are “part of the same Labour family”.
But he pointedly refused to object to plans by his allies to de-select moderate Labour MPs who had opposed him.
He said: “It is not my decision who is selected by constituencies”.
There has also been huge criticism from within Labour of Mr Smith’s campaign, which has been described as “amateurish”.
It has been claimed he should have done more to challenge Mr Corbyn’s extreme left ideas.
Mr Smith has been talked of as “gaffe-prone”, after he moved to supplant the more experienced contender to challenge Mr Corbyn, the MP Angela Eagle.
One of his aides said the defeat was “obvious from the disorganisation (and) lack of strategy, also looking round the office and asking ‘who is actually running this campaign?'”.
After the results were announced at the Labour conference in Liverpool, one former frontbencher reportedly said: “I feel sick”.
Many moderate MPs have virtually given up hope of unseating Mr Corbyn before the next General Election in 2020.
Some of the 65 Labour frontbench MPs could now return after they resigned following the result of the EU referendum, amid accusations the party leader had not done enough to win the Remain vote.
Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan said the party now ‘risked extinction’.
In an interview with The Sunday Times he warned: “We know from history that when the party splits – the Gang of Four in the 1980s – we are out of power (in Westminster) for a generation”.
But it seems a split may now happen – and Wales could lead the way.
On Friday on The Eye, a supporter of Mr Smith confronts Mr Corbyn during a visit to Wales.