Tory motion calling for Michael Matheson resignation to be debated

The Conservatives will urge other MSPs to ‘stand up for the integrity of the Scottish Parliament’.

Tory motion calling for Michael Matheson resignation to be debated Getty Images

The Conservatives will urge other MSPs to “stand up for the integrity of the Scottish Parliament” when their motion calling for Michael Matheson’s resignation is debated at Holyrood on Wednesday.

Holyrood’s Standards Committee backed a 27-day suspension for the former health secretary following revelations about the £11,000 data roaming bill from his parliamentary iPad.

Mr Matheson initially said the device was used for work purposes before later confessing his teenage sons had used it as a wifi hotspot to stream football while they were on holiday in Morocco.

However, First Minister John Swinney is contesting the committee’s decision, saying it was “prejudiced” by the prior comments of one of its Conservative members.

Last week the Scottish Tories said they would table a motion calling on Mr Matheson to resign as Falkirk West MSP.

It would not be legally binding and it is likely to fall given the Scottish Greens will oppose it.

As well as the Conservative motion, there will be a further vote in Holyrood this week on the sanctions facing Mr Matheson.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “We are bringing forward a vote calling on Michael Matheson to resign because his actions are clearly unacceptable for any MSP.

“In any other line of work, Michael Matheson would lose his job. MSPs cannot put themselves on a higher pedestal than others. We must be held to the same standards.

“However anyone in the chamber in other parties feels about Michael Matheson personally, the fact is he made a false claim for £11,000 of taxpayers’ money and then lied about it to the public, press and parliament.

“A cross-party group found he broke the MSP code of conduct and polls show that the public overwhelmingly agree that he should resign.

“MSPs must stand up for the integrity of the Scottish Parliament and restore public trust by voting in favour of our motion calling for Michael Matheson’s resignation.”

Douglas Ross said Mr Matheson’s actions were ‘clearly unacceptable’.Getty Images

Mr Matheson has refused to stand down and said he will “abide” by whatever parliament decides.

Speaking to journalists last week, he said: “I think it’s pretty clear that the process has become highly politicised, which has compromised the process and the fairness of the process.

“I also think the sanctions they’ve imposed are excessive and they are unfair.”

On Saturday, Mr Swinney defended his decision to challenge the committee’s sanction.

He said: “We cannot have our national Parliament presiding over prejudice and certainly not prejudice from the Conservatives.”

Asked if critical comments previously made by Conservative Annie Wells had undermined the entire committee’s decision, he said: “I think when you bring prejudice into a process, you have to recognise the process is damaged as a consequence.

“Now Parliament will sort out these issues, it will address these issues as it considers the (committee’s) report.”

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