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Michael Matheson quits as Scottish health minister

Michael Matheson (Credit: Getty images)

So. Farewell then Michael Matheson. The embattled SNP MSP threw in the towel today after three months battling in vain to save his job as health minister following the row over his £11,000 data bill. The announcement came just hours before he was set to give a major announcement to the Scottish Parliament on minimum unit pricing. Sub-optimal to say the least…

The minister has been awaiting a report on the huge iPad roaming bill he ran up during a family holiday. Labour and the Scottish Tories have accused Matheson of lying over whether he knew how the large data usage had occurred, with the Glaswegian eventually admitting to MSPs that his sons had used the device’s hotspot to watch football.

In his statement today, Matheson said he had not received the findings of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body investigation yet but he is standing down because, er, he does not want the scandal to become a distraction for the Scottish Government. Bit late for that, eh? In his letter to Humza Yousaf, he wrote that:

I am conscious that this process will conclude in the coming weeks. I have still not received the findings of their review, however, it is in the best interest of myself and the government for me to now step down to ensure this does not become a distraction to taking forward the government’s agenda.

Talk about a costly bill…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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