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iPad scandal MSP accepts £12,000 ‘golden goodbye’

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Dear oh dear. Back to Scotland and the chaos of the SNP. Former health secretary Michael Matheson was suspended for 27 days and received a 54-day salary ban last month after he tried to use the public purse to cover his £11,000 iPad data roaming bill. Now it transpires that the Nat has accepted a £12,000 ‘golden goodbye’ despite his suspension. Talk about shameless…

Although the former minister was hit with one of the harshest punishments that Holyrood’s standards committee has ever dished out, it turns out that Matheson has still accepted £12,712.25 of resettlement grant money. Holyrood’s rules allow for cabinet ministers to receive 90 days’ pay when they leave the job and despite calls for Matheson to forgot the payment, the Falkirk politician — who tried to get taxpayers to pick up the tab on his £11,000 roaming bill — accepted it.

Matheson was initially defended by new First Minister John Swinney, which prompted outrage from voters across the country. The FM claimed that the suspension charge was ‘prejudiced’ and said that voting through the sanctions would bring the ‘parliament into disrepute’ — which hardly went down well with Scotland’s taxpayers. Swinney backed down after his support of Matheson threatened to derail the SNP’s election campaign, although SNP MSPs abstained on the sanctions vote.

And while charges of dishonesty have been levelled at Matheson over the whole debacle, he has now been branded a hypocrite too — after remarks he made in the early 2000s came to light where he, um, called for an end to ‘golden goodbyes’ himself. How the tables turn…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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