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by Jenni Davidson
14 May 2021
SNP wins Airdrie and Shotts by-election

Anum Qaisar-Javed taking a selfie with Nicola Sturgeon - Image credit: Alamy

SNP wins Airdrie and Shotts by-election

The SNP has won the Airdrie and Shotts by-election, keeping its tally of MPs at 45.

The previously Labour seat has been held by the SNP since 2015.

Anum Qaisar-Javed becomes the new MP, replacing Neil Gray, who resigned to stand in last week's Scottish Parliament election.

Twenty-eight-year-old Qaisar-Javed is a modern studies teacher who was a Labour activist until the independence referendum in 2014.

She becomes Scotland's second female Muslim MP.

Qaisar-Javed won the seat with a reduced majority of 1,757 over her Labour opponent, local councillor Kenneth Stevenson.

She received 10,129 votes, with Labour second on 8,372.

The Conservatives finished third with 2,812 votes, with the fourth-placed Liberal Democrats getting just 220 votes.

The SNP's share of the vote was 46.4 per cent – 1.4 percentage points higher than in the 2019 election – and Labour’s vote share also increased, by 6.5 percentage points to 38.4 per cent.

However, turnout was low, at just 34.3 per cent.

Speaking after the result was announced, Qaiser-Javed said she hoped to be a role model for people from minority backgrounds.

She said: “We talk about reasons such as a lack of role models, and it has taken until 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’.”

She also said she would “fight for independence”, with the party campaigning for another independence referendum “when the time is right” after the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her “massive congratulations” after the result was announced in the early hours of the morning.

Read the most recent article written by Jenni Davidson - The Holyrood baby: More likely to live in poverty now than the day she was born

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