THE Scottish Parliament has launched an urgent review of data usage policies as it published the breakdown of Michael Matheson’s iPad bill.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) has told Holyrood officials to launch a review of policies relating to mobile devices and roaming charges for MSPs.

It comes after the Health Secretary racked up an £11,000 data bill while on holiday in Morocco last year, which he has now agreed to repay in full.

The EE bill, released by the Parliament via FOI, shows that Matheson incurred the majority of the charges – over £8600 – on January 2 2023, when he used 3.8GB of data in one day.

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Matheson last week said he would repay the £10,935.74 bill for data roaming charges that he racked up while using his Holyrood-issued iPad on holiday in Morocco.

The Scottish Conservatives have threatened to bring a vote of no confidence in the Health Secretary if he does not hand over the device to Holyrood officials for investigation.

And now, Holyrood is set to review its data and mobile policies following the row.

This will include options to disable sim cards, mandatory opt-in to data roaming bundles and personal liability for MSPs who don’t follow parliamentary procedure.

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Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone MSP (above) said in a statement: “Following a meeting of the SPCB on Tuesday afternoon, officials have been instructed to carry out an urgent review of the Parliament’s policies and procedures around mobile device use and data roaming charges, and how these are handled.

“This is an issue which I and the SPCB take very seriously. We must be in a position where we have reviewed and tightened all policies to ensure the present situation cannot happen again.

“The policy review will also set out the circumstances, and cost thresholds, for ‘out of the ordinary’ bills to be escalated to the SPCB for explicit sign off.

“This will ensure full transparency and full accountability. It is vital that we have every confidence in the expenses scheme and that its integrity is maintained.”

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On Wednesday, First Minister Humza Yousaf said that, given Matheson has said he will repay the costs to the Scottish Parliament, the matter should be “closed”.

The bill breakdown shows Matheson incurred the highest charges on December 28, where 1.26 GB of data cost £2,249.17, and January 2, where 3.89GB of data cost £8666.39 – 79% of the total.

Smaller charges were incurred on 31 December, costing £20 and January 3, costing £6.

On the issue of Matheson’s data charges, the Presiding Officer said: “The member himself has acknowledged he failed to update his sim card and incurred significant charges, which he has now agreed to meet in full.

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“The review will give officials and the SPCB greater ability to intervene where members have not followed guidance.

“The SPCB recognises that members are the elected representatives of their constituents and privacy and confidentiality is fundamental to that relationship.”

The parliament said they were satisfied that due diligence checks were carried out on Matheson’s iPad, and that they had written assurances that all use was for parliamentary purposes.

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Earlier, Yousaf said: “For me, the matter is now closed. He [Matheson] has agreed to pay back every single penny of that expense, even though the Parliament wasn’t asking him to do so.”

Matheson was using an outdated sim card in his iPad at the time, and Yousaf said he had agreed to pay the money back “given the honest mistake he has made in relation to the updating of the sim card”.

The First Minister added: “To me, that is a line drawn under the matter.”