A Scottish minister has said he wasn’t interested in the football teams playing in the matches his sons racked up an £11,000 bill streaming on his official iPad.
Michael Matheson choked back tears as he apologised to Parliament admitting that his family were responsible for the huge bill which he originally tried to get the taxpayer to cover.
The health secretary said he was unaware his sons had been hot-spotting data from his Parliament-issued iPad while on holiday in Morocco over New Year.
But he discovered the reason after a furore around the bill erupted in the media. It forced him to give a personal statement on Thursday in which he said he hadn’t revealed the details sooner because he was trying to protect his family.
He said it had been a challenging time for him and his family but that he was focused on his job ensuring Scotland’s NHS was prepared for winter.
He said he had been asked about the iPad row but that people understood it was a “genuine mistake”.
Asked how he couldn’t be aware his sons had watched league matches on both December 28 and January 2, Matheson told STV News that he didn’t discuss the results with his teenagers.
“The teams that were playing aren’t even the teams I have any interest in the first place,” he said.
“From my perspective, I was on holiday, it wasn’t of interest to me.”
Matheson has referred himself to Parliament’s corporate body over the issue.
“I’ve been getting on with my day job as health secretary, dealing with issues that people would expect me to deal with,” he said.
“People recognise there’s been a genuine mistake.”
Scottish Government rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said she had confidence in Matheson following revelations about the £11,000 data roaming bill.
She said he is focused on his “very important job” as the health service goes into winter.
The Conservatives have threatened to lodge a motion of no confidence in him at Holyrood, saying there are still unanswered questions about his actions.
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