Anas Sarwar

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Anas Sarwar

Anas Sarwar MSP.jpg
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
24 October 2014 – 13 December 2014
Preceded byJohann Lamont
Succeeded byJim Murphy
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
17 December 2011 – 13 December 2014
LeaderJohann Lamont
Preceded byJohann Lamont
Succeeded byKezia Dugdale
Shadow Cabinet positions
Scottish Labour Spokesperson for
Health and Sport
In office
25 May 2016 – 4 October 2018
LeaderKezia Dugdale
Alex Rowley (Acting)
Jackie Baillie (Acting)
Richard Leonard
Preceded byJenny Marra
Succeeded byMonica Lennon
Shadow Minister for International Development
In office
5 November 2014 – 8 May 2015
LeaderEd Miliband
Preceded byAlison McGovern
Succeeded byMike Kane
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Central
In office
6 May 2010 – 30 March 2015
Preceded byChaudhry Mohammad Sarwar
Succeeded byAlison Thewliss
Personal details
Born (1983-03-14) 14 March 1983 (age 36)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Political partyScottish Labour Party
Furheen Ashrif (m. 2006)
Children2 sons
RelativesMohammad Sarwar (father)
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
WebsiteOfficial website

Anas Sarwar (born 14 March 1983)[1] is a Scottish Labour Party politician who has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Glasgow region since the May 2016 election.

He previously served as the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Central from 2010 until being defeated in 2015, and Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2011 until 2014. In 2017, he campaigned for the Scottish Labour Party Leadership, but lost to Richard Leonard. He has been described as being on the right of the Scottish Labour Party but does not identify as a Blairite.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Anas Sarwar was born in Glasgow to Perveen and Mohammad Sarwar, both Pakistani Muslims.[3][4] Anas is the youngest of four children, and was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School, an independent school in Glasgow, and later studied general dentistry at Glasgow University.[5]

He graduated in 2005, becoming an NHS General dentist in Paisley prior to becoming an MP in 2010.[5] Sarwar owns a quarter share of his family’s cash and carry wholesale business; his share was valued in 2016 as worth between £2.7 million and £4.8 million.[6] In September 2017, Sarwar transferred his shareholding to a discretionary trust for the benefit of his three young children, so that he could not personally access the assets or dividends.[7]

Political career[edit]

Sarwar has been a member of the Scottish Labour Party since the age of sixteen.[5] Sarwar was an executive member of Scottish Young Labour, and joined the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society and the trade unions Unite and Community.[8]

Sarwar has served as a vice-chair of Progress. [9]

Scottish Parliament election, 2007[edit]

For the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, Sarwar was selected to stand as the number one regional list candidate for the Glasgow region.[10] He was a member of Labour's Scottish Policy Forum which was responsible for drawing-up the Scottish Labour Party manifesto for that election.

Sarwar's attempt to enter Holyrood failed at the election when Labour lost control of the Scottish Parliament for the first time.[11]

Member of Parliament (2010–2015)[edit]

Sarwar was elected at the 2010 UK general election as the MP for Glasgow Central, succeeding his father Mohammad Sarwar; who was the first-ever Muslim MP in the UK, and increasing the previously held majority.[10] He was later elected by his colleagues to serve on the International Development Select Committee. His parliamentary interests included foreign policy and international development, with specific areas of concern being Palestine and Kashmir.[12]

Sarwar was also Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on anti-corruption and was a member of the Welfare Reform Bill Committee.[13]

In January 2013, Sarwar was awarded the Politician of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[14] In January 2015, he was awarded the Spirit of Britain award at the British Muslim Awards.[15]

"Bedroom Tax" vote[edit]

In 2013, Sarwar took a strong line in attacking both the "Bedroom Tax" and the Scottish Government for its failure to mitigate its worst effects. During a vote on its repeal, Sarwar was in Pakistan, giving a speech to students at Hajvery University, and so was paired off with a Conservative MP, cancelling out the two votes. He was criticised for his absence by the SNP.[16][17]

Independent school[edit]

In 2014, Sarwar came under criticism for choosing to send his son to Hutchesons' Grammar School, an independent school and the same school that he himself attended, rather than a state school. MSP John Wilson stated: "Anas Sarwar once again highlights the hypocrisy of the Labour Party – talking of social justice and defending public services while sending his own child to a private school."[18]

At the 2015 UK general election, Sarwar lost his Glasgow Central seat to Alison Thewliss of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party (2011–2014)[edit]

In December 2011, Sarwar was elected Scottish Labour deputy leader receiving 51.10% of the vote.[19] In 2012, he was appointed to co-ordinate the Scottish Labour Party's 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign.[20] The campaign, alongside Better Together, was ultimately successful, with Scotland voting 55% to 45% to remain in the United Kingdom. However, Scottish Labour were all but wiped out in an SNP landslide victory at the 2015 UK general election.

Following the resignation of Johann Lamont on 25 October 2014, Sarwar became the Acting Leader of Scottish Labour, until a new leader was elected. On 30 October he resigned as Deputy Scottish Labour Leader at a Labour Party dinner in Glasgow.

From 5 November 2014 until 8 May 2015, Sarwar was Labour's Shadow Minister for International Development.[21]

Member of the Scottish Parliament (since 2016)[edit]

Sarwar was elected as an additional member in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election for the Glasgow region. In 2016, he was made Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Health and Sport. In September 2017, he announced he would run for the Scottish Labour Party leadership following the resignation of Kezia Dugdale.[22] He eventually lost to his opponent, Richard Leonard. On 4 October 2018, he was sacked from his position as Health and Sport Spokesperson, stating he had only learnt of the sacking on Twitter.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Sarwar is married to Furheen, who works as an NHS dentist.[5] The couple have three young children.[7] Sarwar is a Muslim.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Anas Sarwar". Democracy Live. BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  2. ^ editor, Severin Carrell Scotland (20 September 2017). "Scottish Labour candidate Anas Sarwar laughs off 'neoliberal Blairite' tag". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  3. ^ Carrell, Severin (3 August 2009). "Dynastic Glaswegian keen to prove he is his own man". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Who's Who". Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d "A question of politics". Scottish Dental magazine. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  6. ^ Gordon, Tom (31 August 2017). "Labour frontrunner faces backlash over wealth, schooling and opposition to Corbyn". The Herald. Scotland. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Anas Sarwar relinquishes shares in family firm". BBC News. 23 September 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  8. ^[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Progress annual conference 2011 – Progress – News and debate from the progressive community".
  10. ^ a b "Biography " Anas Sarwar MP | Working Hard for Glasgow Central". Retrieved 13 March 2012.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Peterkin, Tom (18 December 2011). "Anas Sarwar is the brightest of the bright young things – Politics". Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  12. ^ "'I never thought I'd have to fight a political battle for my own country', says Labour MP".
  13. ^ "Anas Sarwar". Scottish Labour. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Winners honoured at British Muslim Awards". Asian Image. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  15. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  16. ^ Why Scotland needs a strong independent online news media, 17 November 2013 Archived 25 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Scots Labour MPs slammed after bedroom tax no-show". 14 November 2013.
  18. ^ Labour's deputy leader under fire for sending son to Glasgow private school, 26 January 2014
  19. ^ "Johann Lamont named new Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. 17 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Anas Sarwar to co-ordinate Labour's Scottish Referendum Campaign".
  21. ^ "Anas Sarwar given new Labour international role". Herald Scotland.
  22. ^ "MSP Anas Sarwar launches Scottish Labour leadership bid". BBC News. 4 September 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  23. ^ Scotland, BBC (4 October 2018). "Sarwar and Baillie out in Scottish Labour reshuffle". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Anas Sarwar - My Unionism will never be in doubt". Scotsman. 18 September 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Mohammad Sarwar
Member of Parliament
for Glasgow Central

Succeeded by
Alison Thewliss
Party political offices
Preceded by
Johann Lamont
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Succeeded by
Kezia Dugdale
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party

Succeeded by
Jim Murphy