JEREMY Corbyn has defended his leadership of the Labour Party, insisting that despite two General Election defeats the Opposition had achieved a “great deal” in changing the political agenda on the economy, social justice and tackling climate change.

And the 70-year-old politician, who has been Leader of the Opposition for more than four and a half years, insisted he would “not[be] disappearing” from frontline politics after his successor is announced next month, even hinting that he might like to become Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Appearing on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Corbyn said he was “very sad” and “very disappointed” about losing two elections, the last being the worst in scale since the 1930s. Labour lost 60 seats to have 202 MPs, just one in Scotland.

“In the 2015 election we were promising a lighter form of austerity rather than a complete end to it, what we have done is become a party of economic inclusion and I’m proud of that,” declared the Labour leader.

He also noted: “We have become a more community-based organisation and we’ve changed the agenda on the economy, changed the agenda on social justice, changed the agenda on the green industrial revolution and sustainability so those are things I am very proud of.”

Mr Corbyn highlighted how the party had become more democratic under his tenure and that membership had virtually trebled from 200,000 to almost 600,000, making it the largest political party in Europe.

When it was put to him that he was not acknowledging the scale of things that went wrong under his leadership, including the two election defeats and the anti-Semitism controversy, the party leader pointed out how there had been “unprecedented attacks” on Labour and that last December’s poll had been dominated by Brexit.

Asked which of the three leadership candidates – Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer – would continue his legacy, Mr Corbyn said: “Listen, they have all fought a good campaign, they have had great debates, all of them. I know them all very well, at various times they have all been in the Shadow Cabinet, they have all been appointed by me.”

But he had to acknowledged two of the three resigned from his frontline team.

Asked if it could be concluded from that the one who had not resigned, Ms Long-Bailey, was his preferred candidate, the party leader replied: “What you can conclude is that I am determined that our party remains an anti-austerity party.”

On his own future, post-leadership, he said: “I’ll tell you what, I’m going to be very busy doing campaigning work on economy and human rights and environmental issues; I am not disappearing from anywhere.”

Mr Corbyn went on: “I have spent my life trying to deal with issues of human rights and justice around the world and that is something…

“Whether I have a position or not, is not important, what’s important is that we use the honour of holding public office to hold executives to account but also to hold the unaccountable to account for those who are fighting their human rights.”

Asked if he had his eyes on the job of Shadow Foreign Secretary, the Labour leader joked: “Are you suggesting something?”

The new party leader will be announced on Saturday April 4. A grand unveiling of the new Leader of the Opposition had been planned for a location in London with hundreds of people attending. However, given the coronavirus pandemic, the party has decided to announce the result via the internet.

Indeed, there is a growing belief at Westminster given the uncertainty and the potential scale of the outbreak that there is a serious threat to the autumn party conferences taking place this year given lots of planning has to take place with businesses and campaign groups. At the very best, the annual gatherings might have to be scaled back to one-day rather than three or four-day events.