Anas Sarwar Elected First UK Muslim Leader of a Party

History has been made with a Scot Muslim being elected to lead Scottish Labour party on Saturday, February 27.

He won the snap election triggered by the surprise resignation of Richard Leonard six weeks ago.

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, The Guardian reported.

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“You haven’t had the Scottish Labour party you deserve – with rising injustice, inequality and division, I’m sorry we haven’t been good enough,” he said in his acceptance speech.

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“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.”

He added: “Today we have elected the first ever ethnic minority leader of a political party in the UK.

“That doesn’t say something about me. That says something great about Scotland and its people. But the fight for equality is far from over.

“And I’ll work with all our diverse communities in Scotland to rebuild the country we love.”

Humza Yousaf, the SNP justice secretary and Scotland’s first Muslim cabinet minister, congratulated Sarwar on his victory.

Who Is Anas Sarwar?

Born in Glasgow in 1983, Sarwar is the son of the first Muslim MP, as his father was elected to Glasgow Central in 1997.

He left his job as a dentist in 2010 for politics, winning the same Westminster seat as his father in an election in which the Labour party lost power after 13 years to a Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Sarwar was elected to be deputy leader of Scottish Labour from 2011 to 2014, taking the job of coordinating the party’s campaign during the independence referendum.

Sarwar was elected at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election on the Glasgow regional list.

Having been defeated in the 2017 Scottish Labour leadership election by Richard Leonard, he has now become a leader of the Scottish Labour Party in the 2021 leadership election.