Ex-Scottish Health Secretary who racked up £11,000 vacation iPad invoice suspended

Former Health Secretary Michael Matheson who racked up an £11,000 bill for use of his Ipad on a family holiday has been suspended from the Scottish Parliament.

The senior SNP figure will be banned from Holyrood for 27 sitting days and will lose his salary for 54 days after he was found to have breached the MSP code of conduct by attempting to use expenses and office costs to cover the bill for a parliamentary iPad. He initially denied he had done anything wrong but eventually admitted that his children had used the device to stream football during a trip to Morocco.

After months of pressure, Mr Matheson stood down as Health Secretary in February. The SNP MSP’s punishment was handed down by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee at Holyrood on Thursday. It will now be subject to a vote in the Parliament.

It will increase pressure on Mr Matheson to stand down as an MSP – as the Scottish Parliament has no way of removing elected members in the way the UK Parliament does.

Announcing the outcome of the probe, committee convener Martin Whitfield said the findings of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), which investigated Mr Matheson, showed the standards expected of MSPs “have not been met”. “The unanimous view of the committee is that it is therefore appropriate to recommend sanctions for consideration by Parliament,” he said.

Committee members were unanimous, the convener said, in the decision to recommend a financial penalty, as well as the amount of salary that should be withheld. But SNP MSPs Jackie Dunbar and Alasdair Allan did not agree with Tory members Annie Wells and Oliver Mundell that the suspension should be for 27 days, with the convener casting the deciding vote.

The decision will now go before MSPs for approval.