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Scottish health secretary resigns over £11,000 iPad roaming bill | Scottish politics

Scotland’s health secretary has resigned before the findings of an investigation into how she amassed nearly £11,000 in notes on her work iPad were published.

Announcing the decision three hours before he was due to issue a statement to raise the minimum price for alcoholic drinks in Scotland by 30% as part of a bid to prevent alcohol-related deaths, Michael Matheson said: “We don’t want to do that.” Stated. It’s a distraction.”

Mr Matheson was being investigated by Holyrood authorities after he admitted using his iPad to watch his sons play football during their Christmas holiday in Morocco, costing him £10,935 in data roaming charges.

In his resignation letter to Humza Yousaf, Mr Matheson told the first minister that he had not yet received the report from the Scottish Parliament Corporation, which launched an investigation in November last year.

Mr Matheson said: “However, it is in my own and the government’s best interests for me to resign now so that this does not get in the way of the government’s policy progress.”

In his letter, Matheson highlighted his accomplishments in government, but did not directly address concerns about spending or apologize for what had happened.

He was given a copy of the corporation’s investigation report, which reportedly contained new evidence about his conduct.

Mr Matheson initially claimed his iPad bill was so high because he didn’t realize his SIM card had expired and was out of contract, but he said it was legitimate council spending. insisted.

Holyrood authorities took him at his word, agreeing that £3,000 of this would be paid from office fees and the rest would be funded by the council. Matheson knew in February that £8,666 had been incurred on January 2nd.

He also revealed to MSPs in November that his wife had told him a week earlier that his sons had admitted to using an iPad on a hotspot to stream rivals Celtic and Rangers’ match in January. did.

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Mr Yousaf accepted Mr Matheson’s resignation “with a heavy heart”, saying he had made a “huge contribution” to the country, but added: “I would like to take this opportunity now to ensure that the parliamentary process receives sufficient attention without resigning.” It was best for me to resign.” It gets in the way of promoting government policy. ”

The resignation comes a day after Elena Witham, the drug and alcohol policy minister, resigned after increasing pressure on the Scottish Government over waiting list deadlines and revealing she was suffering from post-traumatic stress. .

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