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Yousaf must answer key questions on Matheson scandal

Humza Yousaf “owes the public an explanation and apology” for expressing his full confidence in Michael Matheson even after being informed his Health Secretary had lied. 

Douglas Ross has written to the First Minister outlining a series of key questions he says must be answered, in light of Mr Matheson’s personal statement to parliament on the iPad data scandal.

The Scottish Conservative leader, who plans to table a motion of no confidence in the Falkirk West MSP, insists Humza Yousaf’s integrity and credibility “is on the line every bit as much as that of his friend”.

He said the First Minister must address the following key questions:

  • Why did he express “absolute and full confidence” in Michael Matheson on Wednesday when, 24 hours earlier, the Health Secretary had told him he’d lied by insisting on Monday that his iPad had been used solely for parliamentary work?
  • Why did Humza Yousaf repeat, on Wednesday, that the high costs were down to an old SIM card in the iPad when he knew the real explanation was that it had been used to stream football?
  • Was he made aware of Michael Matheson’s £11,000 expenses claim before it first appeared in the media?
  • Why did Michael Matheson wait five days before telling him that his sons had confessed to watching football on the iPad?
  • Will he insist the Health Secretary publish all the parliamentary work he conducted during his holiday to Morocco or at least disclose the volume of that work? 
  • Will the SNP agree to Scottish Conservative calls to timetable a debate in parliament where further questions can be put to the Health Secretary directly?

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “Humza Yousaf has as many questions to answer over this scandal as Michael Matheson. His integrity is on the line every bit as much as that of his friend.

“Firstly, he owes the public an explanation and apology for giving his unequivocal backing to a minister he knew had knowingly lied to the country when he claimed that the iPad had only been used for work purposes.

“On Wednesday, the First Minister was still parroting the line that this was an honest mistake related to an old SIM card, when he knew the truth.

“We also need to know when the First Minister first learned of Michael Matheson’s expenses claim.

“Both men are big football fans, yet we’re being asked to believe that neither put two and two together on when the spike in data usage occurred, despite journalists and members of the public doing so within minutes of the phone bill being made public on Wednesday.

“The fact is the Health Secretary has lied and covered up throughout this scandal and the First Minister appears to have aided and abetted him.

“The country can see Michael Matheson’s position is untenable. If Humza Yousaf refuses to sack him, he is condoning ministers lying to the public and misleading parliament.

“The First Minister must agree to a debate on this next week, so that all these issues can be addressed.”