Jeremy Corbyn keeps door open to shadow cabinet role | Politics

Jeremy Corbyn has held open the possibility he could stay on as a Labour frontbencher after stepping down as party leader, declining to rule out the idea of serving in the next shadow cabinet.

Asked about the possibility during a visit to flood-hit areas in south Wales, he said that if offered a frontbench post he would “see what it is”.

Earlier this week Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary and the candidate favoured by the Corbyn wing of the party, said she would want to offer him a senior role if she won the imminent ballot of members.

The other two remaining candidates: Keir Starmer, the favourite, and Lisa Nandy, have not made similar offers, although Richard Burgon, among those standing to be Labour’s deputy leader, has said he would like Corbyn to become the shadow foreign secretary.

Corbyn, who announced he was stepping down after Labour lost a second election under his leadership in December, said: “I am happy to serve the party in any capacity because my whole life has been about making my contribution in parliament, holding governments to account and of course speaking out on policy areas.

“I have been proud to lead the party for the past five years, proud of the policy achievements we have made and of the huge growth in membership.”

Asked if he would accept a new shadow cabinet role, Corbyn said he would “see what it is”, adding: “I didn’t know I was going to be offered anything and you’re telling me something that I didn’t know.”

Labour members are about to cast their votes for the three candidates, with the ballot opening on 21 February and the result due on 4 April. The remaining hopefuls had to first secure sufficient support from Labour MPs or MEPs, and then from local parties of affiliated groups.

The first stage of the contest was for potential contenders to get the backing of 22 fellow MPs by 13 January. Five MPs passed this threshold: Keir Starmer (88 nominations),  Rebecca Long-Bailey (33), Lisa Nandy (31), Jess Phillips (23) and Emily Thornberry (23).

The second stage requires each contender to win the support either of 33 constituency Labour parties (CLPs); or of three affiliates, two of which must be unions, and which between them account for at least 5% of the affiliated membership. This must be achieved before 14 February. Jess Phillips withdrew from the contest on 21 January.

The ballot of members and registered supporters opens a week later on 21 February, and closes at noon on 2 April. To be eligible to vote you must have been a Labour member on 20 January, or have applied to have become a £25 registered supporter by 16 January.

Corbyn’s successor will be announced at a special conference in London on 4 April.

Speaking earlier on Thursday, Nandy said she would be happy to serve in the shadow cabinets of either Starmer or Long-Bailey if they won.

“Yeah, of course,” the Wigan MP told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. “What you don’t actually realise is we are quite good mates behind the scenes, there’s a camaraderie that comes from being put through this process.

“We’re the only people who understand how tough it is and, yes, I’d be proud to serve in their shadow cabinets.”

Asked the same question last week, Starmer said he “saluted” Nandy and Long-Bailey, but did not say whether he would be willing to serve under either of them.

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