Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman has accused the deputy leader Tom Watson of “peddling baseless conspiracy theories” and orchestrating an attempt to rig the Labour contest.

In a further breakdown in relations, the Labour leader’s campaign team accused Mr Watson of forcing through a decision try and stop 130,000 new members having a vote in the leadership.

The statement issued on Tuesday afternoon also accuses Mr Watson of supporting a “Project Fear” campaign against Mr Corbyn and claims he had been “patronising” party members.

The remarks came after Mr Watson used an interview with the Guardian to claim new activists signing up to vote the leadership were “Trotsky entryists”.

He said many new members were not "remotely interested" in winning elections and instead see the party as a "vehicle for revolutionary socialism."

The row is the latest evidence of the disintegration of relations between the two men, who were both elected as leader and deputy leader last September.

It makes it increasingly hard to see how they can work together if Mr Corbyn wins re-election as expected on September 24, though both men will have their own mandate from members.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Watson revealed the pair barely talk, saying: “We still send the odd text to each other. It’s usually about family stuff, you know.

He also said: “There are some old hands twisting young arms in this process, and I’m under no illusions about what’s going on. 

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