Exclusive:Poll: 65 per cent of Scots think Michael Matheson should resign as MSP

A clear majority believe the former minister should quit following £11,000 iPad bill scandal

A clear majority of Scots think Michael Matheson should resign as an MSP following the scandal over his near-£11,000 iPad bill, a poll for The Scotsman has found.

The poll by Savanta found 65 per cent believe the former health secretary should quit Holyrood, while just 15 per cent think he should not and 20 per cent don’t know.

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A total of 62 per cent of those who voted SNP in the 2019 general election believe he should resign as an MSP.

Michael MathesonMichael Matheson
Michael Matheson

Mr Matheson’s case continues to be investigated by Holyrood’s standards committee, which could recommend sanctions.

A probe by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body previously found he had breached the MSPs’ code of conduct.

Mr Matheson quit his Cabinet role in February following months of pressure over the huge data roaming bill racked up on his parliamentary iPad during a family holiday to Morocco.

He initially used his MSP expenses and office costs to cover the bill, before resolving to pay it himself following pressure from the opposition.

In an emotional statement in Holyrood last year, the then health secretary said the costs had been incurred by his teenage sons, who had used the iPad as a wifi hotspot to watch football during the holiday in Morocco.

Mr Matheson had previously told journalists there had been no personal use of the device, even after discovering the truth.

He was found to have breached clauses of the MSP code of conduct which say members must “abide by the policies” of the SPCB and that “no improper use should be made of any payment or allowance made to members for public purposes”.

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Questioned by journalists in March, Mr Matheson said he would not resign as the MSP for Falkirk West. He has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999.

Asked if he would resign, he said “no”, adding: “As you know, there is a standards process at the moment and I’m going to respect the confidentiality of that process. I’m looking forward to the process being completed shortly.”

The Tories had urged Humza Yousaf to remove the whip from Mr Matheson, but the former first minister insisted his ex-health secretary was a “decent person that made a mistake”.

Mr Yousaf said: “Michael made a mistake, there’s no ifs, buts or maybes about that – and decent people can make mistakes. He’s paid a price for that, literally, he’s paid back all of the money and he’ll obviously now be referred to the parliament standards committee to make a judgment, and I won’t interfere in that process.”

He added: “There are MSPs that have made mistakes and they’ve had to face the consequences of those mistakes. I’ve not heard Michael say anything other than he’ll accept what those consequences are, and I’m sure he’ll accept whatever the parliamentary committee decides and deliberates on.”

Savanta interviewed 1,080 Scottish adults aged 16+ online between 3-8 May. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of Scottish adults by age, gender, region and past voting behaviour.



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