Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson resigns after racking up £11k roaming costs on parliamentary iPad while on holiday

Michael Matheson had initially agreed to claim £3,000 of the bill

Matheson had initially agreed to claim £3,000 of the bill

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 08/02/2024

- 11:27

Updated: 08/02/2024

- 12:19

It follows an investigation into the MSP

Michael Matheson has quit as Scotland’s Health Secretary in the wake of the scandal over iPad data roaming charges.

An investigation into the MSP was launched over an £11,000 roaming bill he racked up on his iPad while on holiday in Morocco.

Matheson had initially agreed to claim £3,000 of the bill as part of his expenses allowance, while his office provision paid the rest – meaning the public purse covered the bill in full.

However, he later agreed to cover the cost himself, and admitted the fees were the result of his teenage sons using his parliamentary iPad as a hotspot to watch football.

\u200bMichael Matheson

Michael Matheson has resigned


The 53-year-old MSP said it was a "privilege" to have served in the position.

In November, First Minister Humza Yousaf said he was not misled by Matheson, but added that the minister "should have handled the situation better", defending him as a "man of integrity."

With the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body conducting an investigation, Matheson said he was "conscious that this process will conclude in the coming weeks."

In a letter to the First Minister, Matheson said: "It is in the best interests of myself and the Government for me now to step down to ensure that this does not become a distraction to taking forward the Government’s agenda."


Michael Matheson

The MSP had come under fire for the scandal


He continued: "Throughout my time in office, I have been supported by dedicated civil servants without whom it would be impossible to do my job. I would like to thank them for their guidance and support during my time in Government.

"I am enormously grateful to you for appointing me as Health Secretary and for the support that you have given me throughout the last year, it has meant a great deal to both me and my family."

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: "While I welcome the news that Michael Matheson has finally gone, the fact is the First Minister has big questions to answer over his lack of judgment.

"While our NHS is in crisis, Humza Yousaf has shown his weakness by putting the SNP before our NHS.

“Now more than ever we need a health minister focused on the crisis at hand. It’s clear that the First Minister has no plan to save our NHS and that shuffling the SNP deckchairs will make no difference – it’s time for change."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "Our health service is on its knees. Patients are waiting an age for treatment and staff are overworked on every shift.

"They all deserve better than an SNP minister who has lost their trust and could no longer focus on the day job.

"From Humza Yousaf to Michael Matheson, our NHS has known only crisis, soaring vacancies and ever longer waits. Their NHS recovery plan has failed."

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