Falkirk Labour councillors lodge no confidence motion in MSP Michael Matheson
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The motion, which will be put to a meeting of the full council on December 6, states that “the highest level of integrity and trust is required of those who hold elected office”.
It goes on: “Council notes the significant concerns in the local community at the issues surrounding Michael Matheson’s use of his Parliament issued iPad and that those concerns have been heightened by his changing account of what happened during the course of his explanations to the media and parliament.”
And it concludes: “Council agrees that the loss of confidence in Michael Matheson as a representative of the communities of Falkirk West as a result of his handling of this issue is so significant that council calls on him to resign as Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care and as Member of the Scottish Parliament for Falkirk West.
In recent weeks the public has learned Mr Matheson failed to update a sim on the iPad when the Scottish Government changed provider. After a week’s family holiday in Morocco he received the large bill. He put in a claim for this, agreeing to pay £3000 with the government paying the rest. He claimed at this time that the iPad had only been used for constituency business.
Later, announcing that he would repay the full costs, he told parliament that he had just discovered that his teenage sons had accessed the iPad’s hotspot to watch football matches.
Bonnybridge and Larbert Councillor Jack Redmond said: “I’ve watched in disbelief as SNP members, from the First Minister to local activists, have rushed to defend the indefensible. They all talk about Mr Matheson’s honesty and integrity. I might have accepted that a month ago. The events of the last few weeks mean I can accept it no longer. Can we believe anything he says now or has said in the past.
He added: “There is also the question of his regard for the security of a government-owned iPad, provided to allow him to carry out his work, much of which will include confidential information. Just how safe was the safety of that confidentiality?”