Police 'assessing' new Michael Matheson iPad bill complaint

Michael Matheson
Michael Matheson was suspended from parliament earlier this week [PA Media]

Police are assessing a new complaint over SNP MSP Michael Matheson’s iPad data roaming bill.

The former health secretary resigned after admitting the £11,000 charge racked up on an official device during a family holiday to Morocco was caused by his sons using it as a hotspot to stream a football match.

Mr Matheson was docked 54 days’ pay and suspended from the Scottish Parliament for 27 sitting days over the incident in December 2022 having previously claimed he used the device only for parliamentary work.

An initial complaint was dealt with by Police Scotland last November, but a second one is now under review by officers.

Mr Matheson apologised and accepted the Holyrood sanction earlier this week.

His party did not vote for the punishment and First Minister John Swinney demanded a review of the complaints process over claims of bias from Conservative standards committee member Annie Wells.

The SNP did successfully amend the motion to include complaints about the procedure, but abstained from voting on the final version.

Mr Matheson will be suspended for more than five weeks, a record for the Scottish Parliament.

John Swinney
John Swinney called for a review of the complaints process over the affair [PA Media]

His salary penalty will be roughly equivalent to the £10,941.74 bill charged to his parliamentary device during the holiday between December 2022 and January 2023.

The cost of the bill was initially picked up by the taxpayer before Mr Matheson agreed to pay it back from his own pocket.

The sanctions will come into force from Thursday.

Mr Matheson was reported to the police last year, but the complaint was not taken forward.

The nature of the new complaint is unclear.

An SNP spokesperson said: “This is a matter for Police Scotland”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the development underlined Mr Swinney’s “shameful mishandling” of the case.

He repeated his call for Mr Matheson to resign as an MSP.

He said: “It’s clearly a matter for Police Scotland to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed.

"But regardless, we know that in any other walk of life Michael Matheson would have been sacked for wrongly claiming £11,000 and then repeatedly lying to cover his tracks.

“Michael Matheson is not fit to be an MSP and should have the SNP whip removed immediately."