Anas Sarwar becomes first Muslim to lead major UK political party

Anas Sarwar has become the first Muslim and ethnic minority leader of a major UK political party after being elected as the new leader of Scottish Labour.

The Glasgow MSP defeated Monica Lennon, winning 57.6% of the votes cast compared to 42.4%,

In his acceptance speech, Sarwar said he realised Labour has “a lot of work to do” to win back the trust of people in Scotland – and offered an apology.

He said: “If we’re brutally honest, 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. I will work day and night to change that, so we can build the country we all need.”

Sarwar said his election was a testament to Scotland.

“That doesn’t say something about me,” he added. “That says something great about Scotland and its people. But the fight for equality is far from over. I’ll work with all our diverse communities in Scotland to rebuild the country we love.”

The newly elected leader, who opposes Scottish independence, ­concluded his speech saying: “I will be a ­leader who focuses on what unites our ­country – not what divides it. ­Together we will build a better future for Scotland.”

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Sarwar, 37, was born in Glasgow and is the son of the millionaire ex MP Mohammad Sarwar.

He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in general dentistry in 2005, becoming an NHS general dentist in Paisley until 2010 when he was elected as an MP in Westminster. But he lost his seat at the 2015 General Election.

Described as being on the political right of the party, Sarwar identifies as a “Brownite” and has been critical of both Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn

He says former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is one of his political heroes. As for Blair, Sarwar has been heavily critical of the Iraq War, calling it “the worst foreign policy decision in my lifetime.”

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