A HOLYROOD 2021 hopeful who aims to take the SNP ticket from a sitting MSP could run two elections next year as he bids for a university role.

Councillor Junaid Ashraf was amongst the five candidates standing in the race to become Glasgow University rector this year before that was put off for 12 months due to the pandemic.

Now he wants to stand as the SNP’s candidate for the Glasgow Cathcart seat currently held by the party’s James Dornan, who is seeking re-selection.

And, if successful, Ashraf may also rejoin the rector contest when it resumes. It’s understood there will be a four-week run-up to that vote in March, while the Scottish Parliament elections take place in May.

Ashraf, who was raised in the south side of Glasgow and now represents Cumbernauld South, told The National he’d focus primarily on Holyrood, stating: “Members of parliament have been rectors of the university before. John Nicolson MP was one of the other 2020 candidates.

“There is a significant amount that can be done through the rector role for divestment from the arms trade and oil and gas, things we need for a greener and fairer world. That’s something I really believe in for my generation and a cultural change is necessary. There’s an impact to be made at university level as well as in the Scottish Parliament.”

Ashraf, 23, splits his time between council duties and working in his family’s garage – something he says has given him insight into the impact of the pandemic on small business.

He’s also helped enact new policy to improve diversity and challenge racial prejudice across North Lanarkshire in what that authority says is the biggest anti-racism action in the country.

Ashraf said: “The Scottish Parliament election in 2021 is our chance to elect an innovative, diverse and ambitious cohort of MSPs who will lead us to independence.”

Councillor Jen Layden, who represents Glasgow City Council’s Calton ward, is also seeking selection.