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FMQs: Humza Yousaf still defends “dishonest and disgraced” health secretary

Humza Yousaf continued to defend the “dishonest and disgraced” former health secretary Michael Matheson who resigned this morning (Thursday) over his £11,000 iPad bill.

Douglas Ross said the First Minister should have sacked Michael Matheson when it became clear he had made a false claim for thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money and misled the public, press and the Scottish Parliament.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross said Humza Yousaf’s own reputation was “in tatters over this scandal” as he had “accepted and tolerated dishonesty in government”.

The SNP leader claimed that Michael Matheson’s £11,000 claim was a “legitimate parliamentary expense” and that the matter was “closed” months ago.

Humza Yousaf said he had “absolute and full confidence” in Michael Matheson, describing him as “a man of integrity and honesty”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Michael Matheson was dishonest about his £11,000 iPad bill. He made a false claim for thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money. He misled the public, press and the Scottish Parliament.

“Humza Yousaf should have sacked him the minute it became clear Michael Matheson had not told the truth. But the SNP leader continued to have this disgraced minister in government for months after this scandal came to light.

"Humza Yousaf backed each version of the former health secretary’s story, every step of the way, even when it became blindingly obvious to everyone in Scotland that he had been dishonest.

“He stood by him even when he cancelled appearances at GP surgeries and stopped doing his job to avoid scrutiny. He let him continue as health secretary while he was distracted. He was just about the only person who still supported Michael Matheson.

“Humza Yousaf staked his own personal reputation on backing the former health secretary. He was willing to accept and tolerate dishonesty in government.

“Humza Yousaf’s own reputation is in tatters over this scandal. He looks weak.

“Trust in his government is gone, the SNP’s credibility is gone, Michael Matheson is gone, but Humza Yousaf the human shield is still here defending the dishonest and disgraced former health secretary.

“How can anybody trust a single word that Humza Yousaf and the SNP Government says ever again?”