Glasgow Southside has always been a vibrant, multicultural community and in recent years has seen small independent businesses thrive.

However parts of the area are still in extreme poverty with around a quarter of residents classed as some of the most deprived in Scotland

Govanhill also sits within the constituency, an area which has attracted controversy in recent years. It was a home for human traffickers, with Police Scotland raiding multiple properties and arresting several members of an organised crime group behind a prostitution and forced marriage scheme in 2017. This case, combined with a plethora of rogue landlord scandals, flytipping on a near-industrial scale and other smaller criminal enterprises, has given rise to conflict within parts of the community.

With this backdrop, it is no surprise that the former English Defence League and Britain First lieutenant Jayda Fransen has chosen to stand for election here as an independent, hoping to capitalise on any potential anti-immigrant sentiment. 

Much more likely to secure vast numbers of votes, however, are Nicola Sturgeon and Anas Sarwar – leaders of the SNP and Scottish Labour – who are going head-to-head in Glasgow Southside.

The incumbent Ms Sturgeon says she is not taking anything for granted in this election, and is vowing to prove her worth for every vote. Looking at the last election result though, it could be suggested she does not have any major concerns here.

Ms Sturgeon secured her seat as the constituency MSP in 2016 with 61.4% of the vote while Labour’s Fariha Thomas secured just 22.9% – giving the First Minister a majority of almost 10,000. 

The First Minister told The Herald she was “determined” that the area would see the improvements “people who live here want to see” if she is re-elected on May 6. She said: “As local MSP, I’m committed to delivering improvements in my constituency. 

“In Govanhill, alongside the SNP council, we’ve invested in housing, removed bad landlords, cleaned up back courts and people are beginning to see real improvements that I am determined to continue.

“Three hundred flats have been brought into social housing, and programmes like Big Noise are giving young people in the area new opportunities.”

Mr Sarwar, who only became leader of his party two months ago, is trying to send a signal with his candidacy for the Southside seat – that he is not afraid to take on the SNP, and challenge them head-first.

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“I have lived in Glasgow Southside my entire life. This may be Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency, but it is my home” he said.

“While Nicola Sturgeon is obsessing over constitutional arguments, people here are worried about their health and their family’s health, their children’s education, what will happen to their jobs and their income.”

He said his focus will be on tackling “poor housing conditions, insecure work and the number of children living in poverty”, adding that his priorities “are the priorities of people in Glasgow Southside – securing our recovery from Covid, and ensuring we emerge from the pandemic a better and fairer nation than went into lockdown last year.”

In-keeping with his election mantra, Sarwar said he wanted to concentrate on “solutions, not divisions” and illustrate that his party can be one of “optimism for the future to rebuild Scotland”.

The party leaders are joined in the race for the seat by the Liberal Democrats’ Carole Ford and the Conservatives’ Kyle Thornton.

Mr Thornton, a Glasgow city council councillor since 2017, is one of several councillors hoping to make the move to Holyrood this month.

An independent candidate named Greg Energy Adviser, Freedom Alliance’s Carol Ann Dobson and the Liberal Party’s Derek Jackson complete the list of candidates for the seat.