SCOTTISH Labour’s newly elected deputy leader, Anas Sarwar, is regarded as one of the brightest of the party’s bright young things.
Aged just 29, he is a relative novice when it comes to national politics, but grew up in a political family. His father, Mohammad Sarwar, was a previous holder of his Glasgow Central seat, and was Britain’s first Muslim MP. Anas increased the majority.
Sarwar senior looked on proudly as his son’s victory over the Labour old guard, Ian Davidson and Lewis MacDonald, was announced at Edinburgh’s Point Hotel yesterday.
Sarwar comfortably won the most support from MSPs, MPs and MEPs and also had the backing of the majority of ordinary party members.
He did not have the support of the trade unions, who rallied around Davidson, but it was not enough to dislodge Sarwar, who performed with a slick professionalism at the party hustings.
Highly ambitious, Sarwar does not wear his religion on his sleeve, prefering to describe himself not as a Muslim MP, but as a Labour MP who happens to be a Muslim and who has been elected to serve all the people in his constituency.
Nevertheless his background is of help to Labour in a part of Scotland where the Asian vote can be extremely influential.
His Labour party biography says that his politics are “firmly rooted in equality, social justice and fairness” and that his “immediate priorities are to create jobs, to build a sustainable economy to fund world class public services, ensure society’s resources are distributed equitably and to protect the most vulnerable in our communities”.
He also has a keen interest in foreign policy and international development.
Born and brought up in Glasgow, Sarwar was privately educated at Hutcheson’s Grammar. He studied dentistry at the University of Glasgow and worked as an NHS dentist before entering politics.
He has said he always believed his future lay in public service and after growing up attending Labour hustings and meetings he set his sights on becoming a politician.
Sarwar has been a campaigning member of the Scottish Labour Party since he was 16 and was part of the successful team which campaigned to save the Govan shipyard in 1999, collecting more than 80,000 signatures.
At the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections Anas was selected to stand as the number one candidate on the regional list for Glasgow.
His attempt to get into Holyrood at the election when Labour lost control of the parliament for the first time failed.
A previous executive member of Scottish Young Labour, Sarwar is a member of the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society and trade unions Unite and Community.
He lives in Glasgow with his wife, Furheen, also a dentist, and their two young sons.