LONDON — A top Scottish government minister who racked up an £11,000 data roaming charge on a parliamentary iPad and blamed it on his kids has resigned.
The devolved Scottish Parliament’s corporate body looked into whether Michael Matheson, the SNP-led Scottish government’s health secretary, broke the code of conduct for Scottish lawmakers by running up the tab on a family holiday to Morocco in 2022. He claimed his sons had been watching football on the device.
In a statement posted on X, Matheson said he expected the investigatory process to conclude in the “coming weeks” — but had decided to resign to avoid becoming a distraction for Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf’s government.
“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 wrote.
The expense for Matheson’s parliamentary iPad was initially met by the taxpayer-funded Scottish Parliament, which had been told by the minister that the device was only used for work. But he paid the money back after the Scottish media reported on the charges last November.
As the pressure for an explanation grew, Matheson — who initially avoided coming clean about the reason for the bill — told lawmakers the charge was down to his sons watching football.
Matheson had been strongly backed by Yousaf, who said last year he had “absolute confidence” in his heath secretary and declined to sack him. It’s the latest row to hit the pro-Scottish independence SNP, which is the subject of a long-running police probe into its finances that has contributed to a loss of voter support.
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