THE former general secretary of Muslim Friends of Labour wants to complete her No-to-Yes journey — by winning a Holyrood seat for the SNP.

Modern studies and politics teacher Anum Qaisar-Javed grew up in a Labour-supporting family but made the switch to backing independence in 2014, doing so as a Labour Party member.

She defected to the SNP just after the result came in and since been campaigning for change through Scot-Asians for Independence.

Now the Motherwell woman is seeking selection in Uddingston and Bellshill as the SNP’s Richard Lyle steps down.

She told The National: “It was quite difficult to make the switch — I’d interned for Anas Sarwar, I had lots of friends in the Labour Party. I still have lot of friends in the Labour Party. However, I believe independence is the best thing for Scotland.”

“In 2014 you had Labour people smiling that grocery prices would be higher in an independent Scotland. This was in what was meant to be the party of the working classes. That didn’t sit right with me. I want a fairer Scotland.

"My grandfather immigrated to Manchester in the 1960s and he always said 'vote for the party with the rose, that's the party of the working classes'. I didn't see that any more."

Qaisar-Javed is not the only hopeful to declare an interest in the seat. Councillor Tracy Carragher has launched her own bid for selection and, with vetting not yet complete, more hopefuls may yet step forwards.

Qaisar-Javed says she was partly motivated by experiences in the classroom — teaching lessons on representation, she explains to teenagers why the parliament doesn't look like the populace yet, with women and ethnic minorities underrepresented.

She said: "Young people are very astute, they are very aware of the fact that the parliament should be more diverse. I've been asked, 'do you think you would go for it?'

"I'm at teacher following the curriculum in school — I'm careful about that. But I want to play my part in creating a fairer, inclusive and representative Scotland for our future generations.

"As a proud Scottish-Pakistani, it would be an honour to be selected as the first ethnic minority MSP for the Uddingston and Bellshill constituency — and become, potentially, the first female ethnic minority MSP in Scotland."