UK

Most Scots think Matheson should quit over roaming charges row, poll suggests

Michael Matheson has been under fire since a near-£11,000 roaming fee was racked up on his parliamentary iPad (PA)
Michael Matheson has been under fire since a near-£11,000 roaming fee was racked up on his parliamentary iPad (PA) Michael Matheson has been under fire since a near-£11,000 roaming fee was racked up on his parliamentary iPad (PA)

A poll suggests 61% of Scots think Health Secretary Michael Matheson should resign following revelations about an £11,000 data roaming bill he racked up on his parliamentary iPad.

The Ipsos poll for STV News also found a majority of SNP voters believe he should quit.

The SNP minister’s use of expenses to cover the bill is currently being investigated by authorities at Holyrood.

He admitted earlier this month the bill had been caused by his teenage sons using the iPad as a hotspot to watch football during a family holiday to Morocco last Christmas.

That admission came just days after Mr Matheson told journalists there had not been any personal use of the device.

While he has now agreed to pay back the full cost of the data bill, opposition parties have called on him to resign or be sacked.

Ipsos found 61% believe Mr Matheson should go, while 31% feel he should stay on as Health Secretary.

A total of 1,004 Scottish adults were polled between November 20 and 26.

National winter health campaign
National winter health campaign Mr Matheson said he is ‘committed’ to his Scottish Government role (Jane Barlow/PA)

Among 2021 SNP voters, 52% said he should resign and 44% said he should stay.

Mr Matheson was asked about the polling when he spoke to journalists earlier on Wednesday.

He said he is “committed” to his job as Health Secretary and supporting the NHS through the winter period.

Mr Matheson said: “I recognise some of the public concern around this matter.

“As I set out to Parliament, as soon as I became aware that there had been use of my iPad for personal purposes I took immediate action to ensure Parliament was fully reimbursed for that.”

He said it is appropriate that the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) is investigating the matter.

Mr Matheson added: “The First Minister has been very clear about me making sure that I continue to drive forward the NHS and support its recovery.

“That’s what I’m focused on doing, I think the public want to know and make sure I’m focused on doing my job to support the NHS, to make sure we’re planning for the winter.”

He said he will not provide a “running commentary” on the SPCB investigation, but added he does not know its timescale.