Anas Sarwar, son of Punjab governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, has been named the new leader of Scotland Labour party ahead of an election for the country’s devolved parliament in May.
Sarwar, a Glasgow member of the Scottish parliament (MSP), succeeds Richard Leonard who resigned in January.
Opposition Labour’s fortunes have flagged in Scotland with the Scottish National Party (SNP) the dominant force. Labour has 23 out of 129 seats in the parliament.
“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,” said Sarwar.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wants a strong showing for her party in the election on May 6 to hand her a mandate to hold a second referendum on independence – something British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will not approve.
Opinion polls indicate a majority back a second referendum.
But the SNP is in the midst of a bitter row between Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond that could eventually put pressure on her to resign and threatens to damage the independence movement.
Leonard said in January it was in the best interests of the party for him to stand down before the May election.
Sarwar is the youngest of four children and was educated at Hutchesons’ Grammar School, an independent school in Glasgow.
Sarwar became a member of Scottish Labour at the age of 16 and was an executive member of Scottish Young Labour.
He later joined the Co-operative Party, Fabian Society, trade unions Unite and Community and pressure group Progress, of which he served as a vice-chair.