Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn 'would consider shadow cabinet role'

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn ‘would consider shadow cabinet role’

Jeremy Corbyn has said he would consider serving in the shadow cabinet if offered a job by his successor as Labour leader.

One of the candidates, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has said she would offer Mr Corbyn a place in her team if she wins the contest to replace him.

Asked whether he would accept a role, he said he was “happy to serve the party in any capacity”.

Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy are also in the running to be leader.

Voting opens on 24 February and the winner will be announced on 4 April.

Speaking on a visit to flood-affected areas of Pontypridd in south Wales, Mr Corbyn said: “My whole life has been about making my contribution in Parliament, holding the government to account and of course speaking out on policy areas.”

He said he would “see what it is” if offered a role, adding that he “didn’t know” whether this would happen.

It seems despite leading Labour to one of its worst election defeats, Jeremy Corbyn is in no rush to leave front-line politics.

While other leading Labour figures like John McDonnell have confirmed they will be returning to the back benches, Mr Corbyn has signalled a readiness to continue in the shadow cabinet.

It’s an outcome that – though unprecedented – could yet come about, given Rebecca Long-Bailey, one of the leadership contenders, has already said she would be prepared to offer him a job.

The idea, however, of Jeremy Corbyn remaining in the shadow cabinet would be hugely controversial and divisive.

It would also incense those who believe Mr Corbyn was one of the main reasons for the party’s shattering defeat.

Mr Corbyn, on the left of the Labour Party, was a backbench MP for more than 30 years before he won the leadership contest in 2015.

He is going following four general election defeats in a row for the party, two of them under his stewardship.

Deputy leadership contender and shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon has previously said standing down is “not the end for Jeremy Corbyn”, as far as frontline politics is concerned.

On Thursday, leadership hopeful Ms Nandy said she would would be “happy” to serve in a shadow cabinet led by either of her rivals.

But Sir Keir, seen as the front-runner, has refused to commit to working in the shadow cabinet if he loses the contest.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler, Scotland’s only remaining Labour MP Ian Murray and Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan are also in the running for deputy leader.