02/02/2020 16:19 GMT | Updated 03/02/2020 08:51 GMT

John McDonnell Seeks 'International Role' After Stepping Down As Shadow Chancellor

Ally of Jeremy Corbyn says he wants to help a Bernie Sanders presidency in the US.

John McDonnell has revealed he wants an “international role” once he steps down as Labour’s shadow chancellor.

McDonnell, who intends to return to the backbenches once Jeremy Corbyn’s successor as Labour leader is elected, said on Sunday he was “easing myself into this role of elder statesman”.

“I’ll look to the longer term direction of the party and also actually be looking for of an international role,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

McDonnell said he wanted to work with European partners “as well as hopefully a [Bernie] Sanders administration elected in the US”.

“I won’t be holding office, I’ll go back to the back benches and that will free me up to perform that role,” he added.

HuffPost UK understands McDonnell wants to consolidate links between the left across Europe and the left in Europe and the US. 

The Corbyn project in the UK has frequently linked itself to Sanders’ hopes of winning the Democratic presidential primary in the US.

Democrats in Iowa will vote for their preferred 2020 presidential nominee on Monday.

Sanders, who unusually for a leading American politician describes himself as a socialist, has enjoyed a surge in the polls in the Democratic race to take on Donald Trump.

McDonnell also confirmed on Sunday he was backing Rebecca Long-Bailey in the Labour leadership contest as the “voice that we need”.

While he said he was “trying not to interfere” in the contest, McDonnell praised Long-Bailey as “brilliant”.

He also backed Richard Burgon to be the party’s deputy leader as his politics “are more like mine” compared to frontrunner Angela Rayner.

Long-Bailey and Rayner are close friends and are supporting each other in their respective contests.

McDonnell is also conducting a series of seminars to examine where the party went wrong in 2019.