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SNP’s Qaisar-Javed becomes latest Muslim MP

18th Jun 2021
SNP’s Qaisar-Javed becomes latest Muslim MP

(Photo credit:WikiCommons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Anum Qaisar-Javed became the latest Muslim MP in Westminster winning the Airdrie and Shotts by-election for the Scottish National Party (SNP) on May 13. The 28-year-old, who was selected as the SNP’s candidate on March 18, won the seat with a reduced majority of 1,757 over her Labour opponent, local councillor Kenneth Stevenson. She received 10,129 votes, with Labour second on 8,372. However, turnout was low, at just 34.3 per cent.

Qaisar-Javed is a modern studies teacher who was a Labour activist until the independence referendum in 2014. Qaisar-

Javed campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and after that defeat she left Labour and joined the SNP. She later worked as a parliamentary researcher for Carol Monaghan MP and as a case-worker for Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.

After her win, Qaisar-Javed talked about the need for more diversity. “We talk about reasons such as a lack of role models, and it has taken till 2021, but now we have two women of colour in the Scottish Parliament,” she said. “But I don’t just want women of colour to look at me, or people of colour, I want anyone from any minority group to be able to look at me and say ‘if she can do it, so can I’.” She also promised she would “fight for independence.”

“The initial priority has to be the Covid recovery, we have just gone through a pandemic, people have really struggled this last year. And as we move through the pandemic and when the time is right, then yes of course we will be looking to campaign for another independence referendum, as is the right of people of Scotland. Whatever the result is of that referendum, so be it, but that choice is of paramount importance.”

SNP Leader, Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted her “massive congratulations” after the result was announced.
The Airdrie and Shotts by-election was held following the resignation of the sitting MP, Neil Gray, to run for the corresponding seat, which he subsequently won, in the Scottish Parliament election.

Qaisar-Javed now holds the mantle of the second Muslim MP to represent the SNP in the Commons. She follows one term MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh who represented Ochil and South Perthshire from 2015 to 217.

 

 

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