Tories to push for more parliamentary time to quiz Matheson on iPad data bill

Scottish Tories will push this week for more time at Holyrood to question Health Secretary Michael Matheson over his nearly £11,000 data bill.

Mr Matheson said last week – in an emotional personal statement at Holyrood – the bill was raised by his teenage sons watching football while on holiday in Morocco earlier this year.

But the revelation came just days after the minister said no one else had used the parliamentary iPad.

The bill, which included costs of more than £7,000 in one day, was caused by using the device as a hotspot to allow another device to access the internet.

A significant number of questions remain completely unanswered

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Tories

After his personal statement, the minister faced questions from MPs, but the Scottish Tories said questions remained unanswered on the matter and hit out at Mr Matheson, First Minister Humza Yousaf and Deputy First Minister Shona Robison for “in largely escaped scrutiny' over the weekend. .

Mr Matheson and the first minister refused to appear on BBC Scotland's Sunday show, while Ms Robison reportedly pulled out of the programme.

Scottish Tory leader Alexander Burnett will push for a further statement this week, with more time for questions.

Scotland captain Tories Douglas Ross said: “Michael Matheson may have had this impressive account but he cannot continue to get away with this scandal.

“He – and other senior members of the SNP government – ​​spent the weekend largely avoiding scrutiny and clearly hoping this scandal would go away.

“This is wishful thinking when we know that the Health Secretary lied to the press and the public about whether this parliamentary device had been used for personal purposes.

“His personal statement last week allowed a very limited time for questioning. A significant number of questions remain completely unanswered.

That is why my party is asking for significant parliamentary time to be set aside to allow Michael Matheson to make another statement and to allow us extensive questions to get answers.”

Mr Ross added that the public had “lost confidence in the Health Secretary”, adding: “Until he resigns or Humza Yousaf does the right thing and sacks him, my party will continue to use every possible method in Parliament to keep by Michael Matheson. explains his lies and lack of answers.”

A spokesman for Mr Matheson said: “Mr Matheson is focused on his responsibilities as Scottish Health Secretary ahead of what is expected to be a difficult winter for the health service.

For me, Michael – whom I have known for 15 years – is a man of integrity, honesty

First Minister Humza Yousaf

“Last Thursday, Mr Matheson announced additional funding of £3.6 million to maintain the existing Community Link Worker scheme within the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership.

“Today, the Health Secretary is chairing the annual review of NHS Forth Valley, meeting local NHS staff and members of the public to hear directly about the issues that affect them.

“The timetable for the Scottish Parliament is a matter for the Parliamentary Bureau – the Conservatives have their own opportunities to push the issues forward.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House program on Sunday, the Prime Minister defended Mr Matheson as a ‘man of integrity' and added: ‘To me, Michael – who I have known for 15 years – is a man of integrity. , sincerity.

“He should have handled the situation better, Michael knows that and he apologized for it.”

The health minister, Mr. Yousaf said, did not mislead him on the matter.