Emotional Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson admits £11,000 iPad charge incurred by sons watching football
and live on Freeview channel 276
The senior SNP minister and Falkirk West MSP has admitted an £11,000 data roaming charge on his parliamentary iPad was incurred after his teenage children watched football while on holiday in Morocco.
He said he only became aware of the truth on Thursday night last week, and agreed to reimburse the cost the next day.
Mr Matheson said he had made "no reference” to the revelation in the last week to protect his children. He told MSPs: “As a parent, I wanted to protect them from being part of the political and media scrutiny associated with this, something I believe any parent would want to do.
"I am a father first and foremost. That was a mistake and I am sorry. I can see now that it just isn’t possible to explain the data usage without explaining their role.
“Presiding Officer, the simple truth is they watched football matches. On Tuesday, I told the First Minster that members of my family had made use of the iPad’s data and yesterday evening, I provided him with a full account of the matter and of my intention to inform parliament.
“Presiding Officer, disclosing this information about our family has been extremely difficult. Mistakes have been made. By me. By my family. And mistakes have been made in the way I have handled this.”
Mr Matheson said he referred himself to the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body for it to consider whether to investigate the matter further.
He has faced intense scrutiny after it emerged he racked up a bill of £10,935.74 on his iPad during a week-long visit to Morocco between December 27 and January 3 this year.
He previously provided a written assurance of the Scottish Parliament that the cost was incurred while carrying out parliamentary work. On Monday, days after finding out about his sons’ actions, he was asked by journalists if there had been any personal use of the device. He said no.