MICHAEL Matheson is set to pay back the full £11,000 roaming charges bill he racked up on a parliamentary iPad while on a week-long holiday in Morocco. 

He had said the huge charge incurred around Christmas last year was caused by an "outdated sim card".

The Scottish Parliament had agreed to pay the bulk of the bill with Matheson offering to pay £3000. First Minister Humza Yousaf insisted he should not have to pay it back.

But the Health Secretary said he has since reflected "long and hard" on the incident and decided he should pay up. 

In a statement on Friday he said: "I have contacted the Scottish Parliament authorities this afternoon to make arrangements to reimburse the full cost of the £10,935.74 incurred in roaming charges on my parliament iPad.

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"While the Parliament agreed to pay the bulk of this sum as a legitimate expense, with the rest being met from my office allowance, I have reflected long and hard and accept that the SIM card on this device should have been replaced at an earlier stage.

"Much of the speculation in the past couple of days has questioned my integrity, and I take this extremely seriously. I take equally seriously the reputation of the Scottish Parliament, of which I have always striven to be a diligent member since its restoration in 1999.

"It is my decision to reimburse these costs in full, which I believe in all the circumstances to be the right one.

"As well as being a constituency MSP, I have an important role as Health Secretary and the coming months will be challenging for our health service. I am determined to be fully focused on taking forward these responsibilities, and I assure the people of Falkirk West and across Scotland that their concerns are my priorities."

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: "As previously stated, Mr Matheson has provided written assurance that the costs were in connection with parliamentary business.

"Mr Matheson notified the Parliament this afternoon that he would, on reflection, meet the cost of his data charges.

"The money will be returned to the Parliament's budget."