Yousaf says he was not misled by Matheson over £11k iPad bill

Image caption,

The first minister described Michael Matheson as a “man of integrity” and said he did not believe his health secretary misled him

The first minister has said he does not believe he was misled by his health secretary over his £11,000 iPad bill.

On Thursday Michael Matheson admitted an £11,000 data roaming charge was caused by his sons watching football while on a family holiday in Morocco.

He informed Humza Yousaf of the truth on Tuesday after initially insisting the device had been used for parliamentary work.

Opposition leaders have called on Mr Matheson to resign.

The bill was initially going to be picked up by the Scottish Parliament, but the health secretary has since paid the money back and said he has referred himself for further investigation.

“No, I don’t believe Michael did,” he said.

The first minister added that his health secretary had only used the iPad himself for parliamentary purposes and only discovered his sons’ use of the data on Thursday, 9 November.

“There’s a legitimate question that people have asked, and Michael addressed last week, around whether he at that point should have been upfront publicly around the fact that was the reason that he was choosing to repay the entire bill,” Mr Yousaf said.

“He was trying to protect his children. For me, Michael – who I have know for well over 15 years – is a man of integrity, honesty.”

He said Mr Matheson could have handled the situation better, but said he had apologised for that.

Video caption,

Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar call on the health secretary to resign.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said Mr Matheson was “hiding away” from scrutiny.

The Moray MP said only his party had the numbers to bring forward a motion of no confidence in the health secretary.

Appearing on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, he commented on the fact that neither Mr Yousaf, Mr Matheson or the deputy first minister had agreed to appear on the programme.

“This is affecting all levels of government in Scotland because none of them are willing to come on to speak about really important issues,” Mr Ross said.

“Because they can’t and won’t defend this health secretary, who should have resigned by now, and Humza Yousaf should have sacked him.

“The man in charge of the NHS in Scotland isn’t putting himself forward for scrutiny,” he added.

The key dates

  • 28 December – More than £2,000 is charged to Michael Matheson’s parliamentary iPad
  • 2 January – Two separate charges to the iPad add up to over £8,000
  • 8 November – The Telegraph runs the story about the £11,000 data roaming bill
  • 9 November – Mr Matheson says it was around this time he became aware it was his sons who racked up the bill. The first minister says it was a legitimate cost and Mr Matheson should not have to pay it back
  • 10 November – The health secretary says he will pay back the full cost of the bill, but insists he was using it for constituency work
  • 14 November – Mr Matheson says he told Humza Yousaf it was his children who ran up the bill
  • 15 November – The Scottish Parliament release a breakdown of the data…

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