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Scotland elects first woman of colour to Scottish parliament

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA</span>
Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

History was made in Scotland on Saturday as the country elected its first woman of colour to serve as a member of the Scottish parliament (MSP).

Kaukab Stewart won her race for the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the Glasgow Kelvin constituency, describing the achievement as an “honour”.

“It is without doubt an honour to be elected as the first woman of colour to the Scottish parliament,” Stewart said in her acceptance speech on Saturday.

“It has taken too long, but to all the women and girls of colour out there: the Scottish parliament belongs to you too, so whilst I may be the first, I will not be the last.

Related: Scotland: SNP’s hopes for majority rest on handful of seats

“I intend to be a voice for every single person in Kelvin that I’ve been elected to represent. Whether you voted for me or not, please know my door will always be open.”

The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, praised the historic win, saying she “could not be prouder right now”.

“I am thrilled beyond words to see Kaukab Stewart elected. Party politics aside, this is a special and important moment. It has taken far too long, but @kaukabstewart is the first woman of colour to be elected to the Scottish parliament,” she tweeted.

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Stewart beat the co-leader of Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie, to take over the seat from Sandra White, also of the SNP. Stewart won 14,535 votes, compared with 9,077 for Harvie.

As the regional list seats were allocated into the early evening, Scottish Labour’s Pam Duncan-Glancy became the first permanent wheelchair-using MSP, representing Glasgow region. Duncan-Glancy told reporters: “I promise to do everything in my power to make sure that the path for the next disabled and permanent wheelchair-using MSP is nowhere near as hard as it has been for the first.”

She congratulated Stewart describing it as a “fantastic result”. “It really has been an incredibly special day for equalities.”

In Wales, Natasha Asghar became the first woman from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background to be elected to the Senedd.

She follows her late father, Mohammad Asghar, who was also a member of the Senedd until he died in 2020. He was the first person from a BAME background to be elected to the assembly, as it was then called.

Like her father, Asghar, who is of Pakistani heritage, has become a Conservative member for the South Wales East region. She told ITV News it felt “absolutely amazing” to be the first BAME female MS. “To be the first woman is just incredible,” she said.

The Electoral Reform Society Wales welcomed the news but expressed concern it had taken so long and pointed out that the number of female MSs was down to 26 from 29 prior to the 2021 election.

The Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies, said he was “thrilled” that Asghar had made history.