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Pakistan-origin Anas Sarwar elected leader of Scottish Labour party

GLASGOW: Pakistan-origin member of Scottish Parliament Anas Sarwar has been elected the new leader of Scottish Labour in snap polls right after former leader Richard Leonard resigned from the post.

Anas Sarwar has become the first leader of a major political party in the UK hailing from a minority ethnicity. Sarwar, a former deputy leader of Scottish Labour backed by a majority of the party’s parliamentarians, defeated the other candidate Monica Lennon, a less experienced MSP backed on the party’s left, winning 57.6% of the vote.

Sarwar, a Glasgow member of the Scottish parliament (MSP), succeeds Richard Leonard who resigned in January. Soon after he assumed the leadership of the Scottish chapter of the Labour Party, Anas Sarwar said the party under his leadership would “focus on what unites our country, not what divides it”.

“I want to say directly to the people of Scotland, I know Labour has a lot of work to do to win back your trust. Because if we’re brutally honest, you haven’t had the Scottish Labour party you deserve,” Sarwar said in his address following the victory.

“I will work with all our diverse communities in Scotland to rebuild the country we love,” he concluded.

Former leader Richard Leonard resigned from the post less than three months before the next Holyrood elections. Leonard led the party for three years until he resigned in a surprise move and left the field open for Glasgow MSP Sarwar to over less than three months before the scheduled elections.

Anas Sarwar has been a political enthusiast from an early age as he became a member of the Scottish Labour party at the age of 16.

Politics runs in his blood for his dad Mohammad Sarwar was the UK’s first-ever Muslim MP and until his son Anas succeeded him in 2010, he had held the Glasgow Central seat for Labour since 1997. The 37-year-old was the Glasgow Central MP from 2010 to 2015 and was firmly in the Gordon Brown camp of New Labour.