Exclusive:Michael Matheson asks for extension as iPad report publication looms

The former health secretary resigned earlier this month after months of pressure over the scandal

Michael Matheson has asked for an extension ahead of the looming publication of a report into his £11,000 iPad bill, it is understood.

The former health secretary resigned as a minister earlier this month after months of pressure over the huge data roaming charge.

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The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) has been carrying out a probe into the spending, with Mr Matheson given a copy of the report’s initial findings two weeks ago.

Michael MathesonMichael Matheson
Michael Matheson

He was given a fortnight to make representations. It is understood he has asked for an extension to the process. However, the reasons behind this are not clear.

A spokesman for Mr Matheson said: "Questions on process are a matter for Parliament."

Mr Matheson’s resignation was the culmination of months of negative headlines over a huge data roaming bill incurred on his Holyrood-issued iPad during a family holiday to Morocco over Christmas 2022. The cost was initially picked up by the taxpayer, but Mr Matheson agreed to reimburse the expense after an outcry.

In an emotional statement in Holyrood in mid November, he later revealed the bill was the result of his teenage sons using the parliamentary device as a hotspot to watch football. Mr Matheson said he had only discovered the truth the week before and had kept quiet to protect his children.

However, he was accused of misleading journalists after denying there was any personal use of the device.

At the time, First Minister Humza Yousaf gave Mr Matheson – a close ally with years of ministerial experience – his full backing. He said he was a man of integrity and honesty, who had made a mistake. But following his resignation, Mr Yousaf said it was right that Mr Matheson steps aside to avoid the issue becoming a “distraction”.

Mr Matheson is entitled to £12,712 in severance pay following his resignation. He previously did not reply to an email from The Scotsman asking if he intends to keep this money or return it. He remains an MSP.

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A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “For reasons of fairness to all, and confidentiality of process, we will not comment while the parliamentary investigation is ongoing. The SPCB remains committed to openness and transparency and will release all material it can, when it can, in line with its legal obligations.”



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