SNP's Michael Matheson quits as Scotland's health secretary in the wake of iPad data roaming charges scandal

Michael Matheson had been under investigation by parliamentary officials (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Michael Matheson had been under investigation by parliamentary officials (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Scotland's health secretary quit on Thursday following a scandal over iPad data roaming charges.

The SNP’s Michael Matheson announced he was stepping down after months of mounting pressure over how he incurred an £11,000 bill on a family holiday.

He had racked up the charges while in Morocco over Christmas 2022 and later said the fees were as a result of his teenage sons using the parliamentary device as a hotspot to watch football.

Opponents repeatedly called for Mr Matheson to resign when the scandal first emerged in November last year.

The minister had told journalists that there was no personal use of the device, before telling MSPs days later his sons had used the data.

At the time, First Minister Humza Yousaf gave Mr Matheson his backing.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is due to release the initial findings of its probe into the spending in due course.

Ahead of those findings, Mr Matheson announced his resignation on Thursday morning.

He said: "I am conscious that this process will conclude in the coming weeks.

"I have still not received the findings of their review, however, it is in the best interest of myself and the Government for me to now step down to ensure this does not become a distraction to taking forward the Government's agenda."

He had initially agreed to claim £3,000 of the roaming charges bill as part of his expenses allowance, while his office provision paid the rest - meaning the public purse covered the bill in full.

But after increasing pressure on the issue, Mr Matheson said he would pay the full cost himself.

Mr Matheson added he had been "enormously grateful" for the support Mr Yousaf gave to him and his family over the last year.

He has held various roles in the Scottish cabinet for almost 13 years, including the justice, net zero and public health portfolios.