General Election 2024 - Scunthorpe: Independent Dr Abdul Butt tells us his priorities

Scunthorpe constituency independent candidate Dr Abdul Butt
-Credit: (Image: Dr Abdul Butt)

The NHS and social care is a key priority for Independent Dr Abdul Butt if he is elected as Scunthorpe MP.

In the run-up to polling day, Scunthorpe Live is speaking to Scunthorpe candidates, putting to them set questions to find out their priorities and stances. There are seven candidates standing in the constituency.

Scunthorpe is now a slightly redrawn constituency compared to the last general election. As well as the town itself, it has expanded to include some places that were previously in the now defunct Brigg & Goole constituency such as Winterton, Burton-upon-Stather, Gunness, Winteringham, Alkborough and Flixborough.

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Dr Abdul Butt is an independent candidate. He is a local GP working in a practice, a doctor at Scunthorpe General Hospital's urgent treatment centre, part of a community response team who look after patients in care homes. He is also the lead for Armed Forces veteran-friendly GP practice.

What will be your priorities for Scunthorpe, if elected?

I think it has to be the NHS and social care first. Improving those two would do more for our town than anything else right now. People are suffering, and it takes a full toll on our physical and mental health.

Reader-prompted question: “Which one of you will seek to end the tax on visiting loved ones in hospital or ourselves having to go to to hospital? Parking fees and on road fear of a ticket are a added problem.” - What is your stance on proposed hospital changes, and hospital parking charges?

"I believe it’s completely a wrong choice and unfair with the residents of Scunthorpe," he said of proposed hospital changes. "It’s not a small town and moving hospital services to Grimsby will only bring suffering to the residents of Scunthorpe. I don’t agree with the moving of services.

"I’m a doctor, I talk to the patients on a daily basis, so they have to travel to get themselves seen because a few of the hospital services are already moved. It will bring a lot of sufferings in terms of logistic issues, and it will affect patients’ health and their care.

"I think this is not the right choice. And again, it’s not a small town."

"In terms of hospital parking charges, I think they have to be repealed, for the staff and the visitors. It’s effectively a stealth tax and cannot be justified. It only adds stress and worry to the ill patients," he said, trying to find parking spaces and "then having to, in most cases pay to park each time they visit the hospital".

Scunthorpe General Hospital - Dr Abdul Butt does not support proposed service element changes
Scunthorpe General Hospital - Dr Abdul Butt does not support proposed service element changes -Credit:GrimsbyLive/Donna Clifford

Across Humberside, we have had questions on the Gazan conflict for candidates. How will you represent constituents’ views on foreign policy issues, like Gaza?

"As you know, I’m a doctor, so human life matters to me a lot, I value it a lot. People trust doctors, they share every single thing which they cannot share with their parents or their partners.

"What’s happening in Gaza is basically unreal and unprecedented. It’s beyond. I would reflect public opinion in a way that neither of the two parties is willing to do. The public are strongly in favour of an immediate ceasefire, and for the suspension of arms licences. These are not at all minority opinions. Our taxes cannot be used to kill innocent children, women and men."

The steelworks - there are real fears of more than two thousand job losses, should the coke blast furnace closures go ahead as planned. What will you do to try to ensure those fears never become reality?

"If I got the chance, I would give my full support to the unions fighting for a realistic future and work always for the interests of our workers. As with so many other issues, I will be guided by the local voices and not the party whips in Westminster."

If elected, what will you advocate to help address crime and anti-social behaviour locally?

"Full support of our police is non-negotiable. But pretending that the collapse of our social fabric is not a key driver of the crime mess cannot continue either."

How would you as the MP try to support people struggling with the cost of living?

"It’s a difficult question, I think we have no choice but to increase the tax burden on the very wealthy, whose riches have increased massively over the last decade. As an MP, lending my support and whatever resources we can afford to those who are working to help struggling people."

Scunthorpe has had its first Pride event in the last year. How will you represent the concerns of the LGBT+ community in Parliament?

"Equal rights is a fundamental right across all of our communities here. I will respect and raise the concerns of all the genders of our constituency."

How would you like to have seen the area improved in five years' time?

"Improved funding for our services, and far more responsive government at local and Parliament level. The general view is that nobody’s listening to us and I think this is absolutely true."