A MUM-of-two and pandemic keyworker standing in the Scottish Parliament elections says she hopes to make history by becoming the area's first female MSP.

Labour candidate Francesca Brennan believes Inverclyde is ready for a fresh voice and a woman representing the area at Holyrood.

She spoke out as she launched a major survey of local people to gather their views ahead of May's poll.

The 41-year-old told the Tele she wants to harness the community spirit that came into the spotlight during the lockdown to help close inequality gaps that have been exposed and widened during Covid-19.

She says that one of her first priorities would be childcare, which is often a barrier for working families and in particular during school holidays.

Ms Brennan said: "I think we need a woman MSP in Inverclyde.

"I wouldn't say the time has come, it is probably long overdue.

"Like many keyworkers, I’ve been juggling the responsibilities of family and work.

"I never expected to be standing for the Scottish Parliament, let alone during a global health crisis.

"As a teacher and a mum of two, I’ve seen up close the pressure coronavirus has put on everyone.

"I am from Inverclyde, I work in Inverclyde and I live here and I've been speaking to a lot of people.

"Time and time again I hear from working mums about a real barrier to childcare.

"We need to finally do something about it.

"People can't take jobs because they can't afford the childcare in the summer holidays.

"The council have created holiday hubs for families and now we need to build on that."

Ms Brennan, married to husband Paul, hopes to use her experiences to represent all of Inverclyde.

She says one of her top priorities would be addressing the need to tackle the health inequality gap.

She added: "I got involved in local politics because I love Inverclyde, but I want more for the people around me.

"I also think it’s time that our local politicians started to look more like the communities they represent.

"I am a passionate advocate for public services and community life - that’s why I want more investment in education and the NHS.

"I want our towns and villages to prosper and thrive and to become centres of activity where people want to live.

"What makes me proud of Inverclyde is our kindness, decency and strong spirit that reaches out across social divides.

"These are the values we will need in the coming years as we tackle social isolation and poverty."

With uncertainly over how campaigning will take place as the pandemic continues, Ms Brennan says she will be working hard to find out the views of as many people as possible.

She insists Inverclyde needs a fresh face representing the area as she looks to oust current incumbent Stuart McMillan of the SNP.

He has been at the parliament since 2007 and recently saw off a challenge from party colleague Chris McEleny for the nomination.

Ms Brennan said: "Stuart McMillan has had 13 years to make a difference.

"It is time for someone else."