Scottish Lawmaker Faces Calls for Resignation as His Children’s $13,700 Roaming Charges on Work iPad Spur Taxpayer Outrage

Scottish Lawmaker Faces Calls for Resignation as His Children’s ,700 Roaming Charges on Work iPad Spur Taxpayer Outrage

Scottish Health Secretary Faces Scrutiny Over £11,000 Roaming Charges

Scottish National Party member Michael Matheson is under fire after accumulating a staggering £11,000 in roaming charges during a family vacation. Matheson admitted that his children used data to stream football matches while on a trip to Morocco last year. Calls for his resignation are now growing louder.

Matheson, who had previously denied using his parliamentary iPad for personal use, informed the Scottish Parliament that he was unaware of his family’s activities until a week prior. “The simple truth is they [his sons] watched football matches,” Matheson confessed to MSPs on Thursday.

Initially, Matheson agreed to cover £3,000 of the bill from his expenses budget, with the rest being paid by the Scottish Parliament and thus, taxpayers. Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf defended the charges as a “legitimate parliamentary expense” related to Matheson’s work, attributing the high bill to an outdated SIM card.

However, when Matheson revealed the true reason for the charges, he pledged to pay the full amount out of his own pocket. “I made no reference to the use of data by my family in my previous statement,” Matheson admitted. “That was a mistake, and I am sorry.”

According to Matheson, he sought assistance on December 28 when his phone was not functioning in Morocco. He was informed that the iPad could be used as a hotspot, but the Scottish Parliament does not have records confirming this.

The implications of Matheson’s iPad use have sparked controversy. Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie described it as “unfathomable” for Matheson to retain his position after deceiving the public and parliament. Scottish Conservatives leader Douglass Ross also emphasized the need for further clarification regarding the crisis.

Experts believe that if Matheson had been upfront about the situation from the beginning, it may not have escalated to such a degree. “An open and honest admission, accompanied by Michael Matheson accepting responsibility for the charges, would have settled matters,” said James Mitchell, a professor of public policy at the University of Edinburgh.

The fallout from Matheson’s iPad usage could have consequences for the SNP and its leader Yousaf, who previously expressed full confidence in Matheson. The party is already grappling with a police investigation into its finances, which resulted in the arrest and subsequent release of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in June.

Despite the controversy, Matheson continues to hold his position as an MSP, although a no-confidence vote looms. The Scottish Parliament is revisiting its rules on data roaming and mobile devices to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future, according to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone.

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