Jeremy Corbyn rejects claims Labour will split if he wins leadership race

Leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has rejected claims the party would split if he is elected to Labour's top job as he set out plans to take on bankers, media moguls and the corporate world.

Rupert Murdoch's empire would be broken up to dilute his media influence while banks must wake up to Britain's "gross inequalities", the left-winger told the Financial Times.

Mr Corbyn also warned the corporate world he is going after high pay levels.

"I do think the salary levels and the bonus levels again have got to be looked at," he told the newspaper.

"I am looking at the gap in every organisation between highest and lowest levels of pay."

He said: "We need a media that is not controlled by a very small number of very big interests . . . [Mr Murdoch] should understand that we're very serious about diversity of media ownership and I hope he will understand that."

Mr Corbyn's dramatic transformation from rank outsider to favourite in the race against Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall for the leadership has sent shockwaves through Labour and prompted fears it would force the party to split.

Mired in controversy

But the backbencher told the FT: "I don't think there is any appetite for people to walk away from [the party].

"I appreciate there are only a relatively small number [of MPs] who actually willingly nominated me," he said.

"The number of MPs making 'noises off' at the moment is actually quite small," he added. "A lot of MPs are looking to see what happens and what role they can fulfil."

The contest has been mired in controversy after new rules made it easier for people to sign up to vote, inadvertently paving the way for political opponents to influence the outcome.

Senior party figures are expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss fear about significant numbers of infiltrators bypassing party security checks.

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