Michael Matheson breached MSPs code of conduct over £11,000 iPad bill

The former health secretary has been found to have breached the code of conduct.

Former health secretary Michael Matheson has been found to have breached the MSPs code of conduct in relation to the near-£11,000 bill he racked up on a parliamentary iPad.

Matheson stepped down from his cabinet post last month, citing the ongoing parliamentary investigation as the reason.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) published its findings on Thursday but said its full report would be released after consideration by Holyrood’s standards committee.

“The SPCB decided that, based on the evidence presented in the Investigation Report and its findings in fact, Mr Matheson had breached sections 7.3 and 7.4 of the code of conduct and thereby upheld the three complaints within the SPCB’s remit,” the body said.

“While the costs to the public purse had been addressed, the SPCB agreed that the Nolan Principles of Standards in Public Life, embedded in the Scheme and underpinning the appropriate use of parliamentary resources, represented the high standard by which all members must abide and in which the SPCB considered the public must continue to have confidence.”

The report will be referred to the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee to consider if the former minister should be sanctioned.

The former health secretary resigned on February 8 – the same day he was handed the draft findings of the report.

What are the £11,000 iPad roaming charges?

There was pressure on Matheson to resign as Scotland’s health secretary after it was revealed that he had racked up an £11,000 iPad roaming bill while on a family holiday in Morocco.

The charge was billed to the public purse but after the story broke the former secretary said he would pay it himself.

He told journalists he did not know how the charge was racked up but later admitted his sons had used the official parliamentary device to watch football.

This led to accusations that he lied to the media and the public. Matheson said he was trying to protect his family.

They only used about 6GB of data but due to EE’s extremely high roaming charges the bill totalled around £11,000.

A parliamentary investigation into the use of the device was then announced and was published on Thursday, March 14.

Yousaf faced repeated calls to sack his health secretary but refused.

On February 8, Matheson as health secretary resigned and became a backbench MSP – the same day he was handed the report.

Later, he asked Holyrood for an extension to allow him more time to respond, to which they agreed.

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