Anas Sarwar’s famous politician father has flown back to Scotland where he is expected to provide support and advice during his battle with Richard Leonard for the Scottish Labour leadership.
Mohammed Sarwar, who made his name as Britain’s first Muslim MP, has been meeting prominent members of the Asian community since he arrived in Scotland from his home in Pakistan.
The former Punjab governor, who was Labour MP for Glasgow Govan from 1997 to 2010, is on a holiday which coincides with his son’s campaign to replace Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader.
Last night a source close to Anas Sarwar’s campaign said of the visit: “He’s here on holiday to see his family. He has no formal campaign role, although I’m sure as a proud father he will provide moral support and parental advice.”
Earlier this week, Mr Sarwar snr travelled to Edinburgh to meet community leaders at the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Centre (ELREC) and dropped by the Annandale Mosque at prayer time.
There were between 30 and 40 worshippers at the mosque when Mr Sarwar snr made his appearance.
Saleem Irshad of the mosque said: “He came from Pakistan. He has old friends here. He came to see us and he told us that his son is taking part in the leadership and that’s all.
“He was saying you should think about it before giving the vote. Who is the better candidate and so on.
“Obviously he [Mohammed Sarwar] would be delighted if he [Anas Sarwar] wins. He is his son. Which father would not like his son to succeed in life?”
When he visited ELREC, Foysol Choudhury, the organisation’s chair, tweeted a picture of the former Labour politician with seven others including Shami Khan, the vice chair, outside the charity’s office. Mr Choudhury said the Labour leadership contest had not been discussed.
Mr Sarwar snr’s arrival in Scotland comes at a crucial time in the Labour leadership race. Mr Sarwar jnr has faced criticism over the business practices of his family firm United Wholesale (Scotland), which was founded by his father.
Mr Sarwar jnr has struggled to answer criticisms over the firm’s failure to recognise trade unions or to pay the real living wage.
Last weekend Mr Sarwar jnr relinquished his multi-million pound stake in the business, putting his shares in a trust that will be passed on to his children.