Matheson author of own misfortune - John McLellan

Health secretary Mivhael Matheson has now agreed to pay back the £11,000Health secretary Mivhael Matheson has now agreed to pay back the £11,000
Health secretary Mivhael Matheson has now agreed to pay back the £11,000
In 2005, the late Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie was forced to resign over doubts about whether £11,000 of taxi expenses claimed over five years were for parliamentary business.

An SNP spokesman said then: “MSPs are accountable for the use of public money. Given the long list of unanswered questions about his expenses, it appears Mr McLetchie’s position has become untenable, and so resignation was the only appropriate course of action.”

Three years later, Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander was forced out because of a failure to declare eight donations totalling £8,000 to her leadership campaign. An unsympathetic deputy SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said, “Wendy Alexander has been the author of her own misfortune”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet First Minister Humza Yousaf and Nationalist cheerleaders insist health secretary Michael Matheson’s claim for £11,000 of roaming charges on his government iPad on a week’s holiday, and the subsequent obfuscation about what information he provided to the parliamentary authorities, is no big deal. Move on, nothing more to see…

Like David McLetchie, Mr Matheson has promised to reimburse the cash, but like David McLetchie, Wendy Alexander and, indeed, ex-First Minster Henry McLeish, the issue is clearly about honesty.

Why anyone should think government ministers can get away with the “muddle not a fiddle” argument is beyond me. The SNP harried others out of office for less and Mr Matheson is, as his old boss said, the author of his own misfortune.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.