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by Kirsteen Paterson
07 December 2023
Michael Matheson iPad inquiry terms confirmed

Health Secretary Michael Matheson

Michael Matheson iPad inquiry terms confirmed

The parliament probe into Michael Matheson's roaming charges will go on until at least January, it has emerged.

The health secretary racked up a five-figure data bill while on holiday in Morocco with his family.

He initially said the charges related to his use of a parliament iPad for constituency work, but later told the Chamber his teenage sons had run up the bill by watching football.

The SNP MSP had claimed the sum on expenses but later said he would pay from his own pocket after he’d been made aware of the personal use.

It has now been confirmed that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body's (SPCB) investigation into the matter will run into the New Year.

The initial statement of provisional findings is expected to be published in January, according to the minutes of an SPCB meeting which also confirm the remit of the probe.

It will investigate and make findings as to whether an "improper claim" was made by Matheson in respect of any part of the charges within the terms of expenses rules, and if he "failed to abide by" SPCB policies on the use of parliamentary resources and the MSPs' code of conduct.

The investigation will be conducted through written submissions and the SPCB "acknowledged the public interest in this matter and the need to maintain the integrity" of the rules. The minutes state: "In the interest of fairness to all, the SPCB was keen to progress its investigation expeditiously."

Matheson said he referred himself to the SPCB, but the body later said there is no process for this. However, it said it would look into the situation and Matheson has welcomed the inquiry and said he would cooperate with the process.

The investigation is the first of its kind and when it was announced Matheson said it "wouldn't be appropriate" to comment further.

In a statement, the SPCB said there was a "vital interest in the integrity of the members' expenses scheme, the principle that SPCB funded resources are used for parliamentary purposes and that there is public confidence in these matters".

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