SHE’S been on the Scottish Parliament campaign trail for weeks while running her own push for Westminster.

Going by last week’s Holyrood election results, the odds are in SNP candidate Anum Qaisar-Javed’s favour ahead of this week’s Airdrie and Shotts by-election.

The vacancy opened up when the SNP’s Neil Gray resigned from the seat to stand in for the Scottish Parliament. He was successful, as was every other SNP constituency candidate in North Lanarkshire.

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The local authority area, once solidly Labour red, is once again completely yellow – voters elected five separate SNP MSPs, including Clare Adamson, Jamie Hepburn, Fulton MacGregor and Stephanie Callaghan.

The final results were announced on Friday and by 10am the next morning, Qaisar-Javed was back out knocking doors to remind people her race isn’t over.

The National:

The 28-year-old modern studies teacher was joined by Nicola Sturgeon, along with Gray and Angus Robertson, who’s just been elected in Edinburgh Central.

Such is the interest around her campaign that current MPs Carol Monaghan, Angela Crawley and Alison Thewliss have also taken part.

Campaigners will be out every day until the polls open, some of whom have worked with Qaisar-Javed as she joined the push for the area’s MSPs.

It is, she says, “exciting” to be running in an area where staunch Unionism has given way to independence support. But she says she’s “not taking a single vote for granted”. She told The National: “People deserve a candidate and a party that will work for every single vote.”

Before Gray’s 2015 win, Airdrie and Shotts was represented by Pamela Nash, who now heads the campaign group Scotland in Union. Prior to Nash, it was held by Labour grandees John Reid and Helen Liddell.

But Gray took 45% of support in Boris Johnson’s snap 2019 General Election and last week he came out 5500 votes ahead of former Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard to represent the area at Holyrood.

The huge political shift in the area is something Qaisar-Javed relates to – a former general secretary of Muslim Friends of Labour, she campaigned for Yes in 2014 as a Labour member, sometimes sharing a platform with Sturgeon, and switched party after the referendum result came in.

She says of her family: “We always voted Labour. That’s one of the things I have been able to connect with many voters on. We’ve had these conversations about Labour leaving the working classes. People are unable to connect with them, is what I’m picking up.

“I’ve been able to say to people on the doorsteps, ‘I know what you mean, that’s exactly what I’ve gone through’.”

However, she’s up against local Labour councillor Kenneth Stevenson, with Scotland in Union urging No supporters to back him in a tactical vote. The group told its followers Stevenson “is best placed to stop the SNP”.

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Other contenders include Ben Callaghan of the Tories, who has stood in several local contests, LibDem Stephen Arrundale and Donald MacKay of Ukip. There’s no Scottish Green Party candidate but Martyn Greene of Reform UK, Neil Manson of the Social Democratic Party and Jonathan Stanley of the Scottish Unionists are also standing.

Qaisar-Javed says the SNP’s manifesto commitment to building a new hospital in the area is attracting support. NHS Lanarkshire is developing plans for a replacement for ageing Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, with the preferred Wester Moffat site confirmed in December.

She said: “Every party is going to say ‘we are getting a great response on the doorsteps’, but we genuinely are.

“We are not complacent. We are having these conversations with people and explaining that this election is about the person who will be holding the Conservative government to account for them.”