Anas Sarwar

Anas Sarwar (born 14 March 1983) is a Scottish politician who served as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from 2011 to 2014. He has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Glasgow region since 2016, having previously been Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow Central from 2010 to 2015. In 2017, he campaigned for the Scottish Labour Party leadership but lost to Richard Leonard. He identifies as a Brownite and has been described as being on the political right of the Scottish Labour Party.[1]

Anas Sarwar

Anas Sarwar MSP.jpg
Sarwar in 2016
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
In office
24 October 2014 – 13 December 2014
LeaderEd Miliband
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 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 37)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Political partyScottish Labour Party
Furheen Ashrif
(m. 2006)
ParentsMohammad Sarwar
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and careerEdit

Sarwar was born on 14 March 1983 in Glasgow to Perveen and Mohammad Sarwar, both Pakistani Muslims.[2][3][4] He is the youngest of four children and was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School, an independent school in Glasgow. 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.[5] Sarwar became a member of the Scottish Labour Party at the age of 16 and was an executive member of Scottish Young Labour.[5][6] 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.[6][7]

Political careerEdit

2007 Scottish Parliament electionEdit

For the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, Sarwar was selected to stand as the number one regional list candidate for the Glasgow region.[8] He was a member of Labour's Scottish Policy Forum which was responsible for drawing-up the Scottish Labour Party manifesto for that election. His attempt to enter Holyrood failed at the election when Labour lost control of the Scottish Parliament for the first time.[9]

Member of Parliament: 2010–2015Edit

Sarwar was elected at the 2010 general election as 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.[8] He was elected by 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.[10] He was also co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on anti-corruption and was a member of the Welfare Reform Bill Committee.[11] In January 2013, Sarwar was awarded the Politician of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[12]

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.[13][14]

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."[15]

From 5 November 2014 until 8 May 2015, Sarwar was Labour's Shadow Minister for International Development.[16] In January 2015, he was awarded the Spirit of Britain award at that year's British Muslim Awards.[17] At the 2015 general election, he lost his Glasgow Central seat to Alison Thewliss of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party: 2011–2014Edit

Margaret Curran, Sarwar, Johann Lamont and Gordon Brown at the launch of United with Labour

In December 2011, Sarwar was elected Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party receiving 51.10% of the vote.[18] In 2012, he was appointed to co-ordinate the Scottish Labour Party's 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign.[19] 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 general election. Following the resignation of Johann Lamont on 25 October 2014, Sarwar became acting Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, until a new leader was elected. On 30 October he resigned as deputy leader at a Labour Party dinner in Glasgow.

Member of the Scottish Parliament: 2016–presentEdit

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.[20] 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.[21]

In November 2019, Sarwar was given access to a leaked report from 2015 which had considered infection controls at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to be at "high risk". 10-year-old patient Milly Main died in the hospital in 2017 from a water infection, while she was there to recover from leukaemia. Sarwar raised the leaked report's findings in a Scottish Parliament debate in which he criticised NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for not closing certain hospital wards despite the report's findings. A constituent of his, he requested on behalf on Main's mother a response from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Sarwar is married to Furheen, who works as an NHS dentist, and the couple have three young children.[5][23] He is a Muslim.[24] He 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.[25] 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.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Carrell, Severin (20 September 2017). "Scottish Labour candidate Anas Sarwar laughs off 'neoliberal Blairite' tag". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Anas Sarwar". Democracy Live. BBC News. Archived from the original on 22 March 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  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 "A question of politics". Scottish Dental magazine. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ "Progress annual conference 2011 – Progress – News and debate from the progressive community". Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Biography " Anas Sarwar MP | Working Hard for Glasgow Central". Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  9. ^ Peterkin, Tom (18 December 2011). "Anas Sarwar is the brightest of the bright young things – Politics". Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  10. ^ "'I never thought I'd have to fight a political battle for my own country', says Labour MP".
  11. ^ "Anas Sarwar". Scottish Labour. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Winners honoured at British Muslim Awards". Asian Image. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  13. ^ Why Scotland needs a strong independent online news media, 17 November 2013 Archived 25 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Scots Labour MPs slammed after bedroom tax no-show". 14 November 2013.
  15. ^ Labour's deputy leader under fire for sending son to Glasgow private school, 26 January 2014
  16. ^ "Anas Sarwar given new Labour international role". Herald Scotland.
  17. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Johann Lamont named new Scottish Labour leader". BBC News. 17 December 2011.
  19. ^ "Anas Sarwar to co-ordinate Labour's Scottish Referendum Campaign".
  20. ^ "MSP Anas Sarwar launches Scottish Labour leadership bid". BBC News. 4 September 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  21. ^ Scotland, BBC (4 October 2018). "Sarwar and Baillie out in Scottish Labour reshuffle". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  22. ^ "'Milly would be here' had hospital followed advice". BBC News. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Anas Sarwar relinquishes shares in family firm". BBC News. 23 September 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Anas Sarwar - My Unionism will never be in doubt". Scotsman. 18 September 2017.
  25. ^ Gordon, Tom (31 August 2017). "Labour frontrunner faces backlash over wealth, schooling and opposition to Corbyn". The Herald. Scotland. Retrieved 29 October 2017.

External linksEdit

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