AN SNP activist whose family fled from Asia and to Africa and were later forced to seek refuge in Scotland is hoping to become the youngest MSP at next year’s Holyrood election.

Sameeha Rehman, 21, has thrown her hat into the ring to become her party’s candidate in Stirling where long-serving SNP MSP Bruce Crawford is standing down. Rehman, who joined the party when she was 15, will turn 22 the day after the poll on May 6.

If elected she could be the youngest-ever SNP MSP. The Scottish Greens’s Ross Greer became the youngest MSP in the history of the Scottish Parliament when he was elected at the age of 21 in 2016.

Rehman grew up in the Glasgow area and her family ran a grocer’s shop in Stirling, where she regularly helped out. She currently works as a parliamentary assistant to Steven Bonnar MP.

“My great grandfather went from Burma, because of Japanese bombing, to India and then Kenya as he worked for the British Army. After the conflict of the independence wars in India in the 1940s, they were made homeless and this forced all of the family to move to join him in Kenya,” she said.

“In 1973, there were moves in Uganda to strip the Asian workers right to employment and fears of similar moves in Kenya sparked my families intention to move to Glasgow. They have been in Glasgow ever since.”

She added: “So my Kenyan heritage is that of a colonised nation who faced a desperate struggle for independence. I’m proudly Scottish and proudly Kenyan. They did not have the benefit of a democratically elected parliament that fought for their rights. Scotland does and I’m determined to be the voice that stands up for Stirling and Scotland.”

With her own family’s history of persecution Rehman has a particular interest in immigration issues and volunteers at weekends in Stirling supporting asylum seekers and refugees. She said her “number one priority is securing independence” for Scotland.

“Now is the time for Scotland to seize our independence,” she added.

“Stirling needs a candidate with the experience, energy and passion to stand up for Scotland’s right and not only fight the 2021 election, but the independence referendum to come.

“I am that candidate. Scotland has suffered too long under the austerity of a Tory government we have rejected, which is now riding roughshod over Scotland’s Parliament and people. It’s time for Scotland to have its say.”

She continued: “Stirling has long been described as ‘the brooch that clasps the Highlands and Lowlands together’ I will work tirelessly to ensure that brooch deems a Yes badge.”

Rehman was awarded Scottish Young Achiever of the Year in 2019 for her community work.