Michael Matheson has quit as the SNP’s Health Secretary after huge pressure over the £11,000 bill he racked up a family holiday as his children streamed football in 2022
Michael Matheson has quit as the SNP’s Health Secretary after an investigation into his parliamentary iPad data roaming bill scandal.
Mr Matheson has been under huge pressure over the £11,000 bill he racked up a family holiday in Morocco 2022. He eventually admitted his children had used the work device to stream football.
However, he faced claims of lying to the media and the scandal became a huge embarrassment to Humza Yousaf’s Government. He resigned in the wake of a Holyrood probe into the huge cost initially incurred by the taxpayer.
The Scottish Parliament’s governing Corporate Body ordered an internal investigation at the height of the row. It has been reported the probe was critical of Mr Matheson, who has been an MSP since 1999.
Mr Matheson had initially agreed to claim £3,000 of the roaming charges bill as part of his expenses allowance, while his office provision paid the rest – meaning the public purse covered the bill in full. But after increasing pressure on the issue, Mr Matheson said he would pay the full cost himself.
In his resignation statement to First Minister Mr Yousaf, he wrote: “Having requested that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body review my data roaming charges from last year, I am conscious that this process will conclude in the coming weeks. I have still not received the findings of their review, however, it is in the best interest of myself and the Government for me to now step down to ensure this does not become a distraction to taking forward the Government’s agenda.”
He did not apologise for the row and said he would offer Mr Yousaf “full support from the backbenches. Mr Matheson is an ally of Mr Yousaf and his departure creates a vacancy for Health Secretary – the highest spending department in Government.
Mr Matheson added he had been “enormously grateful” for the support Mr Yousaf gave to him and his family over the last year. He has held various roles in the Scottish cabinet for almost 13 years, including the justice, net zero and public health portfolios.
The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is due to release the initial findings of its probe into the spending in due course.