MEET Fariha Thomas, perhaps one of the most fearless women in Scottish politics.

The Labour councillor of just three years has been selected to fight Glasgow Southside for her party – taking on Nicola Sturgeon at next year’s Holyrood elections.

While more senior Labour politicians have retreated to the list section of the ballot in the hope of winning a seat in the Scottish Parliament, Thomas will be challenging the First Minister in the first past the post constituency seat.

The London-born 60-year-old has lived in the Southside for more than 35 years after moving to Glasgow shortly after completing her studies at Edinburgh University.

She told The National she was ready for the contest and believed she could win.

She said: “I believe there is every chance [of a Labour win].”

“We will be making the most of the opportunities and I believe it will be a very exciting campaign.

“From the moment I put my name forward to be approved for a selection panel, I have only ever been interested in standing in Glasgow Southside: that is my area.”

Thomas, who has spent most of her professional life working in community development, said her main interests are in equalities and social justice issues.

She described herself as to the left of the party, and shares both her leader Jeremy Corbyn’s and her opponent’s stance on opposing air strikes in Syria and rejecting Trident renewal. Unlike the First Minister, however, she is firmly supportive of the Union.

A long-term convert to Islam, Fariha attends the Glasgow Central Mosque.

“I wanted to stand because I believe Scotland would benefit from having a Labour government. The party has excellent policies and I wanted the opportunity to put those forward,” she said.

Thomas, who represents the Glasgow Govan ward on Glasgow city council, was selected on Monday night defeating rival activist Scott Nicholson, who was the party’s candidate for Perth and Perthshire in May’s General Election.

“Fariha is a strong and passionate political fighter,” said a colleague.

“Everyone knows it’s going to be a hard battle in Glasgow Southside but Fariha will take the fight to Nicola Sturgeon.”

Dr Neil McGarvey, Politics Teaching Fellow at Strathclyde University, said the Glasgow Southside seat was a bit of “David and Goliath” contest.

He said fighting the campaign could help raise Thomas’ profile ahead of the council elections in 2017.

“I think Fariha Thomas is probably doing her duty to her party and is probably regarded as a safe pair of hands in such a high-profile contest.

“I think she will put a lot of energy into the campaign and give it a try. I don’t know what the bookies’ odds are but I suspect she has zero chance of winning.

“She will probably get some goodwill support from the work she has done in the community.”

He added: “However, ahead of the council elections the campaign may help raise her profile as a councillor ahead of those elections.”