A FOOD bank founder honoured by Boris Johnson for his coronavirus crisis work now aims to unseat the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, The National can reveal.

Charandeep Singh was awarded a Points of Light Award for his lifeline work with the Sikh Food Bank, which has provided more than 80,000 meals to vulnerable Scots since its foundation during lockdown. The multilingual service operates in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Now the 30-year-old – the youngest ever depute director of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce – aims to win the seat held by Johnson’s one-time man-in-Holyrood, Jackson Carlaw, and become the country’s first Sikh MSP.

The Eastwood MSP led the Scottish Tories in the stead of Ruth Davidson until his surprise resignation in July. He took 35.7% of the constituency vote in 2016, with the SNP and Labour narrowly behind.

Now Singh is the latest potential candidate to put himself forward for selection to become the SNP’s local choice for next year’s contest.

Others include councillor Colm Merrick, who led Kirsten Oswald’s campaign to regain the overlapping East Renfrewshire constituency in December’s General Election. Alex Kerr, a former European Parliament candidate and current postholder at the Scottish Parliament, was the first to declare an interest. Qasim Hamid, the former organiser of the SNP’s Glasgow Regional Association, has also put himself forward.

They face competition from councillors Annette Ireland and Caroline Bamforth, who represent Clarkston, Netherlee, Busby and Williamwood and Newton Mearns South and Eaglesham respectively. Both are the first SNP women to represent their wards.

Singh said running the food bank laid bare “the inequalities in Scotland”, stating: “As a parliamentarian, I will fight to close the gap on poverty and income inequality and challenge the Tory party’s austerity agenda.”

He went on: “I have built a career outside of politics, working in business, education and community activism. The 2021 election is a seismic moment for Scotland.

“An impending chaotic Brexit and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means the prevailing health and economic circumstances will weigh heavily on the Scottish Parliament.

“I’m standing as a candidate to bring my experience, insight and leadership to Holyrood and help take Scotland forward.”