Jeremy Corbyn has accused the media of treating him ‘worse than Arthur Scargill’ and has rubbished claims that he is to blame for Labour’s defeat in the elections.

The former leader, in an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston, said it was a “bit rich” for Keir Starmer and others within the Labour leadership to “start blaming me for stuff that's been done over the past year that I've had absolutely no part of whatsoever.”

He said it was “weak” to blame him for the party’s failure last week, which saw them lose control of eight English councils and one parliamentary seat.

HeraldScotland: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Peterborough

The party lost the Hartlepool by-election to the Conservatives’ Jill Mortimer, handing the seat to the Tories for the first time since it was created in 1974.

Mr Corbyn said: “I do think that dumping on somebody because they're not there anymore is a bit weak.

"Do I take responsibility for it? No."

It comes after several Labour figures, including the former Hartlepool MP and grandee Peter Mandelson, said Mr Corbyn had continued to cast a “dark shadow” over the party.

READ MORE: Angela Rayner says voters did not know what Starmer stood for after 'sacking' attempt

Mr Corbyn, who was suspended from Labour and sits as an independent MP currently, continued: “We had a set of popular policies in the last manifesto - green industrial revolution, investment in the economy, equality legislation, national education service - as a party, ditching all of that, we'll be in an even worse position.

"People didn't feel confident in what the policy offer was, and rather bizarrely, the leadership launched the local election campaign on the basis of national policies. Whereas, of course, it's a local election.

"But I think there's the feeling that Labour had done too much agreeing with the government when many people's experience of Covid is one of fear. 

“We ended up being seen as a party that basically agreed with the whole government strategy.”

READ MORE: Former Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson says Labour loss 'about Corbyn not Brexit'

Mr Corbyn also hit out at the media during the interview, saying: “The mainstream media has monstered me for the past five years; monstered me and John McDonnell and Diane Abbott and others in a quite extraordinary way.”

He added: “We've had even more abuse than Arthur Scargill had and he led the miner's strike.

“Now, I'm grown up. I'm descendants of a rhinoceros - my skin is very thick. I don't really care what people say about me.”

The MP for Islington North said that Keir Starmer’s latest cabinet reshuffle was a “knee-jerk reaction in order to create different headlines.”

He said: “No reshuffle is ever easy to do, so I've got some sympathies with that."

"Personally, I would have left it a lot longer, worked out what you want to do and taking the soundings of the people you want to put in.”

Finally he emphasised that he wanted a “political” decision to be made to readmit him as a Labour MP, explaining that it should not be left to the courts.

He explained: “I want this to be a political decision, not a legal decision.

"I am a member of the Labour party, which I have been ever since 1966. 

“As far as I'm concerned, I should be restored to full membership of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

"That by the way, is what very large numbers of Labour party members also think, and absolutely what the Islington North constituency Labour Party thinks, which is perhaps quite important since I am the MP for Islington North."