Scottish Health Secretary quits over probe into iPad bill

The Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson has resigned following backlash over his parliamentary iPad bill of almost €12,800.

Mr Matheson racked up the charges while holidaying in Morocco over Christmas 2022.

He later conceded the fees were accumulated as a result of his teenage sons using the parliamentary device as a hotspot to watch football.

Opponents repeatedly called for Mr Matheson to resign when the bill first emerged in November last year, pointing to his claim to journalists that there had been no personal use of the device, before telling members of the Scottish Parliament days later his sons had used the data.

At the time, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf gave Mr Matheson his backing.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is due to release the initial findings of its probe into the spending in due course.

Ahead of those findings, Mr Matheson announced his resignation this morning.

He said: “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 had initially agreed to claim €3,500 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.

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.

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