Speaking on British Muslim TV (February 21) Anas Sarwar described the role of Scottish Labour Party leader as the “most difficult job in British politics”.

A week after making such a comment, he became the first Muslim to lead a political party in the UK. It was his second attempt to lead the party. He failed in his first bid in 2017. He later claimed that a party councillor told him that he couldn’t support him as Scotland was “not ready for a brown Muslim P*ki.”

Four years later he has become Labour’s 10th leader since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. He will lead the party into the Scottish Parliament elections, which take place on May 6.

Labour currently languishes in third place at Holyrood behind the SNP and the Scottish Conservatives. However, one recent opinion poll showed that they could take second place with the SNP securing a majority.

Nadeem, a Labour supporter, believes Sarwar has the potential to make the party a political force again.

He said: “Growing up everyone I knew voted Labour. There were no questions asked, it was the done thing. But then came the war in Iraq and that was the start of many people looking elsewhere to vote. Labour had become arrogant. There was a sense of entitlement. We had become complacent and took voters for granted.

“Some of our previous leaders, well even party members would struggle to identify them. I appreciate its early days but I have been very impressed with him. He has stood out in the leaders’ debates. Even supporters of other parties and media commentators have acknowledged this. He is having a very good campaign.

“I wish he had been in the job much earlier as by now he would have had a bigger profile. This election has come too soon for him. He will have his eyes on the top job for later [2026].”

Sarwar, a former NHS dentist, will stand against the current SNP leader and First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in her Glasgow Southside constituency, home to diverse communities, including a large Pakistani diaspora. Also standing is the former deputy leader of Britain’s First – Jayda Fransen.

Nadeem believes the 38-year-old will be looking to get the Asian community, which traditionally voted Labour, primarily due to his father's efforts, Mohammad, who was Britain’s first Muslim MP, to vote for the party again.

He continued: "The 'Sarwar name’ isn't as influential as it used to be. The older generation will say 'Oh yeah that's Sarwar's putt ' (son), ‘he's one of our own’ and they will vote for him. However, the younger generation doesn't buy into the whole biraderi (clan politics). He will need credible policies. His name and ethnic background aren't going to be enough. However, I’m confident over time, he can convince them to vote for us again.

“I live and work in Govanhill and many people are unhappy at the state of roads, the amount of litter on the streets. We have a big issue with fly-tipping. The area is infested with rats. Back in the day, it was easy for Nicola Sturgeon to take selfies outside mithai [confectionary] or Asian clothes shops without answering any questions.

“I’m going to be biased but I can see a shift in attitude from speaking to people or looking at my social media. She isn’t as popular as she used to be. Members of my own family who would hang on her every word have now done a complete U-turn.

“Many people feel she has neglected her own patch. It’s a tough ask for Anas but if he can cut down her majority and make Labour the official opposition, then that’s an excellent result for us.”

Despite his optimism the businessman is concerned the party’s “mixed messages” on another Scottish independence referendum will harm the party’s quest to govern again.

He added: “Anas is trying hard to move the debate away from another referendum but he can’t bury his head in the sand. Scotland isn’t going to move forward unless the issue of independence is put to bed. Right now, the country is split. If you want independence, you vote SNP. If you don’t, then you vote Conservative.

“On the two biggest constitutional issues facing this country Labour have been in no man’s land. Brexit has happened but the issue of another Scottish referendum hasn’t gone away. Labour has to come with a credible ‘third option’ otherwise it risks staying irrelevant.”