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by Louise Wilson
27 November 2023
Scottish Tories urge parliament to set deadline for Michael Matheson investigation

Michael Matheson ran up an £11,000 bill for data roaming while on holiday in Morocco | Alamy

Scottish Tories urge parliament to set deadline for Michael Matheson investigation

The Scottish Conservatives have urged the Scottish Parliament to set out its timeline for the investigation into Michael Matheson’s data roaming bill.

Party chair Craig Hoy has written to the presiding officer calling for details to be provided “so that the public can be confident that a thorough investigation has occurred and that it won’t be a whitewash”.

A parliament spokesperson said it will “release all material it can, when it can” but did not confirm a deadline for completion.

The investigation was announced by parliament authorities last week following the growing row over Matheson’s £11,000 bill.

The health secretary gave a statement to parliament two weeks ago, telling the chamber that his sons had used the device's data. He had initially said all usage was linked to parliamentary duties but subsequently said some data was used to watch football.

Hoy accused the health secretary and SNP of “trying to kick the can down the road”.

The MSP said the parliament must say when the investigation will conclude and when the report will be published; confirm whether Matheson will see a draft of the report beforehand; publish correspondence between the parliament and Matheson; and allow a debate on the report.

He added: “If these outstanding queries are addressed that would give the public the reassurance they need that this investigation will be comprehensive and will answer why Michael Matheson felt it was appropriate to claim nearly £11,0000 from the taxpayer to pay for the bill he incurred whilst on holiday.”

A parliament spokesperson said the investigation will proceed “quickly” and in line with “fair process”.

They added: “Due process requires that Mr Matheson will be invited to contribute evidence in writing following the personal statement he made to parliament on 16 November.

“The SPCB has already made clear that in the interest of fairness to all, and to avoid prejudicing the investigation, it will not comment on any further matters that could have a bearing on this process or provide a running commentary. 

“The Corporate Body remains wholly committed to openness and transparency and will release all material it can, when it can, in line with its legal obligations.”

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