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‘Humiliated’ Matheson must be investigated by Standards Committee

Michael Matheson must be investigated by Holyrood’s Standards Committee after his self-referral to the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body was exposed as “botched and bogus”.

The parliament’s standing orders allow MSPs to probe a possible breach of the Code of Conduct and Douglas Ross says this is the means by which the health secretary can be investigated over the £11,000 roaming charges bill he racked up on his parliament-issued iPad and originally charged to the taxpayer. 

The Scottish Conservative leader was speaking after parliament officials confirmed last night (Tuesday) that “there is no mechanism” for an MSP to self-refer to the Corporate Body.

Mr Ross, who will table a no-confidence motion in Mr Matheson if he continues to be supported by the First Minister, also accused the health secretary of “insulting people’s intelligence” by claiming, in an STV interview yesterday, that he had not misled anyone during the scandal.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “I think it’s imperative that the Standards Committee investigate Michael Matheson’s actions for a possible breach of the MSP Code of Conduct.

“He was further humiliated yesterday when the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body ruled his self-referral to them was botched and bogus.  That mechanism doesn’t exist – and it now looks like it was a ruse from the health secretary in his personal statement.

“Separately, the Scottish Conservatives will also be tabling a motion of no confidence in him.

“Michael Matheson’s position is untenable – he has repeatedly lied and attempted to cover-up throughout this affair.

“His absurd claim that he hasn’t misled the public is an insult to people’s intelligence, given – by the timeline he mapped out in his personal statement – he admitted doing just that.”



The Scottish Parliament standing orders state the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments committee can decide whether a member’s actions are in accordance with the Code of Conduct. Rule 6.4.1 reads: ‘There shall be a committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the following… (b) whether a member’s conduct is in accordance with these Rules and any Code of Conduct for members, matters relating to members interests, and any other matters relating to the conduct of members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties’. (Scottish Parliament Standing Orders, 4 May 2023, link).