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SNP retain Westminster seat of Airdrie and Shotts following by-election

THE SNP has retained the Westminster seat of Airdrie and Shotts following a by-election, with the constituency’s new MP pledging to be a role model for minorities. 

Anum Qaiser Javed became Scotland’s second ever female Muslim MP after the result was announced in the early hours of this morning. 

Ms Javed won Thursday’s by-election with a reduced majority ahead of Labour candidate Kenneth Stevenson, a local councillor. 

The contest was triggered when her predecessor Neil Gray resigned from the Commons in a bid to become an MSP, going on to win the corresponding Holyrood constituency last week.

Ms Javed, a modern studies teacher, said she taught her students about why there are fewer people from minority communities in politics.

She said: “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.

“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’.”

In a speech given after votes were counted at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell, she promised to “fight for independence,” underlining the importance of asking the question. 

She added: “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.”

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