Credit: Junaid Ashraf

Rector candidate Junaid Ashraf to stand in Scottish Parliamentary election

By Ross McCool

The SNP councillor in North Lanarkshire will stand for selection for the SNP for Glasgow Cathcart constituency.

Junaid Ashraf has confirmed that he will be seeking to stand in next year’s Scottish parliamentary election.

The University of Glasgow graduate, candidate for Rector and Scottish National Party (SNP) councillor Junaid Ashraf has declared his intention to stand for selection for the SNP in the Glasgow Cathcart constituency for the 2021 Scottish parliamentary election. As one of the five candidates for Rector, Ashraf promised to support the arms and fossil fuel divestment campaign across campus, believing a greener and more ethical approach is needed within the University of Glasgow.

Ashraf declared his intention to stand for selection against the incumbent SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament James Dornan who has held the seat since gaining it from the Scottish Labour Party in 2011. 

The councillor, who has represented the SNP since 2017, gained attention after assisting in motions supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and declaring and acknowledging the climate crisis within the Glasgow suburb of North Lanarkshire, being one of the first local councils in the UK to do so.

Mr Ashraf told The Glasgow Guardian he wants to stand for parliament to fight against inequality and had the support of senior members of the Cathcart branch: “I was born in the southside of Glasgow and I know too well of the inequalities present in Scotland that independence would allow us to fully tackle. After consultation with a wide range of members from the Cathcart branch, I chose to enter the race with the support from several senior members from the area.”

In regards to whether potentially juggling both roles of Rector and an MSP, he told us: “I believe the roles [of Rector and MSP] aren’t aligned to one another. There is a significant amount to be achieved as an MSP through the implementation of policy at a parliamentary level. But the change that can be achieved through the role of the Rector is monumental too. I believe with my experience in elected office, as well as a grassroots campaigner, will aid me significantly in making a success of both roles.

“There is much more progress to be made by all levels of government across the UK in supporting ethnic minority communities within many aspects of society. This is a direct result of the lack of BAME representation within politics and I hope to shed a light on the progress for equalities work that can be achieved in Scotland. I have been at the forefront of the actionable change for the BLM movement in Scotland and decolonising the curriculum. I hope to bring this wealth of knowledge with me to Holyrood.”

The Scottish parliamentary elections will take place on Thursday 6 May next year.


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