Scotland’s health secretary has resigned, ahead of the publication of an investigation into how he racked up a bill of almost £11,000 on his work iPad.
Michael Matheson, who announced his decision three hours before making a statement on raising the minimum unit price of alcohol drinks in Scotland by 30% as part of measures to prevent alcohol-related deaths, said He didn’t want to “become a distraction.”
Matheson was under investigation by Holyrood authorities after he admitted his sons used his iPad to watch football matches during their Christmas holidays in Morocco, costing them £10,935 in roaming of data.
In his resignation letter to Humza Yousaf, Matheson told the Prime Minister that he had still not received the report from the Scottish parliamentary body, which began its investigation last November.
Matheson said: “However, it is in my interests and those of the Government that I resign now to ensure that this does not become a distraction to advancing the Government’s agenda. »
In the letter, Matheson highlighted his accomplishments in government, but did not directly address concerns about his spending or apologize for what happened.
It was reported that he had received a copy of the body corporate’s investigation and that it contained new evidence about his conduct.
Matheson had initially claimed the iPad bill was so large because he didn’t realize his SIM card was obsolete and no longer covered by the contract, but he insisted he s This was a legitimate parliamentary expense.
Holyrood officials accepted his word and agreed that £3,000 would be paid for by his office expenses while the rest would be funded by Parliament. Matheson knew in February that £8,666 had been incurred on 2 January.
He then revealed to MSPs in November that his wife had told him a week earlier that his sons had admitted to using his iPad in a hotspot to stream a match between bitter rivals Celtic and Rangers on that January date.
Yousaf said he accepted Matheson’s resignation “with sadness” and that he had done “tremendous service” to the country, but that it was “best that you step down now to ensure that you are in able to give the parliamentary process the attention it deserves without it. become a distraction from advancing the government’s agenda.”
The resignation comes a day after Elena Whitham, the minister for drugs and alcohol policy, resigned after revealing she was suffering from post-traumatic stress as well as growing pressure on the Scottish Government over delays on waiting lists.