The shadow business secretary admitted the Labour Party faced the prospect of losing to the Ukip leader with the party “hanging on by the fingernails” to its seats in the north.
Speaking to his Norwich South constituents, the Labour MP said: “There are swathes of this country, like in Stoke, where we are hanging on by the fingernails to keep Ukip at bay.
“And if Ukip make a breakthrough in Stoke and if they make a breakthrough in parts of the North there will be a rout.”
“Some people may say, well that’s tough,” he added. “But I ask you to think about what that rout would make our Parliament look like. I genuinely ask you to think about that.”
Clive Lewis casted doubt over Labour's chances in the Stoke by-election
- Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall have eggs thrown at them in Stoke
- Ukip supporters abused by anti-fascist protesters outside Stoke event
There are swathes of this country, like in Stoke, where we are hanging on by the fingernails to keep UKIP at bay
Mr Lewis, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, made a plea to Labour voters to who felt “betrayed” by the Labour leader over divisions within the party,
He said: “And those who think Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party betrayed them, I tell you they have agonised over this because the party is torn.
“And I was told ‘if you break the whip at any stage in this vote you are responsible, potentially, for helping to let Paul Nuttall in’.
“I don’t want Paul Nuttall to be in politics – I do not want the politics of Trump in Westminster. Once they have one voice, they have a base and it will be a domino effect."
Jeremy Corbyn in pictures Tue, July 12, 2016
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a community meeting at the Guru Har Rai Gurdwara Sahib temple
Reuters 1 of 36
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at an anti-racism rally in London
The comments come after Labour’s candidate in the Leave-voting constituency, Gareth Snell, came under fire for once calling Brexit a “massive pile of s***” on Twitter.
The councillor in nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, wrote last year: “Soft Brexit, Hard Brexit, massive pile of s***. Sloppy Brexit, messy Brexit, quit, quit, quit."
Diane Abbott was among those who defended her party’s candidate selection last month. She insisted she was “confident he is the right candidate for Stoke”.
Mr Nuttall was confirmed as Ukip’s candidate last month and has vowed to tackle issues the “establishment parties would prefer to brush under the carpet”.
The by-election follows the resignation of Labour’s Tristram Hunt, who quit the House of Commons to become director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Labour cannot be trusted to protect the NHS, says Ukip's Paul Nuttall
- Watch out UKIP! Corbyn arrives in Stoke – then runs from interviewers
- Farage: Ukip WILL win by-election in 'Brexit capital'