LONDON – A senior Scottish government minister has blamed £11,000 roaming charges – incurred on a parliamentary iPad – on his sons watching football.
Scottish National Party Health Secretary Michael Matheson made the admission to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, as he came under pressure over the huge bill he presented while on holiday in Morocco last year. last.
Expenses for his parliamentary iPad were initially met by the Scottish Parliament, to which Matheson told the device was only used for work. He has since repaid the money after Scottish media reported the accusations last week.
As pressure mounted for an explanation, Matheson told Scottish lawmakers on Thursday that he was not aware that other family members had used the device until last Thursday.
He said his inability to speak clearly about the matter in a statement last Friday or in response to reporters’ questions earlier this week was due to his desire to protect his family “from being part of the political and media scrutiny associated with this case.
“I am a father above all. It was a mistake and I am sorry,” he told MPs, announcing that he had turned to Parliament for an investigation.
“I now understand that it is simply not possible to explain the use of data without explaining its role. The simple truth is that they (his sons) were watching football matches,” he added.
Matheson was backed by Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf, who said he had absolute confidence in his health secretary. He risks facing further pressure, with the opposition Scottish Conservatives threatening to table a parliamentary motion of no confidence in the minister.