FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf has said there is “clearly more” to Michael Matheson’s £11,000 iPad bill ahead of a parliamentary statement by the Health Secretary.

It emerged last week that Matheson had racked up the data charges while on holiday in Morocco over Christmas last year, with the Tories threatening a vote of no confidence in the minister if he did not hand over the device for further investigation.

At FMQs on Thursday, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross pressed Yousaf on the issue after parliamentary authorities released a breakdown of the charges on Wednesday evening.

Ross repeatedly demanded the FM give assurances that Matheson’s charges were in relation to parliamentary or MSP business after it emerged the majority of the charges were incurred on January 2, a bank holiday.

Two separately listed charges for that day amounted to around £8600. 

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Matheson had failed to change SIM card in the device which is understood to have led to the high charges.

Speaking in the chamber, Yousaf told MSPs that Ross was right and there was “clearly more to” the charges and that an “honest mistake” had been made.

The FM refused to go into detail ahead of a statement scheduled for Holyrood at 2pm that afternoon, but insisted that Matheson should be given the “benefit of the doubt”.

He added that “more had been discovered” in relation to the iPad bill will be laid out by Matheson later on Thursday.

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Yousaf told journalists after FMQs that Matheson would still be Health Secretary by the end of the day.

The Tories said Matheson should be sacked for his "dishonesty" by claiming the £11,000 bill on expenses and making taxpayers foot the bill. 

Yousaf said in the chamber he has “absolute confidence in Michael Matheson as the Cabinet Secretary for Health” and stressed he had paid back the bill after the "honest mistake".

Ross said claims it was an honest mistake were only “50% right”, as he challenged the First Minister over whether he believed the costs had resulted from parliamentary and constituency work, as Matheson has said.

Data revealed by the Scottish Parliament shows in one session on January 2, Matheson used 3.18GB of data, costing £7,345.689. A second charge, on the same day, showed 710MB cost over £1320. 

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“It was over the Christmas break and £7,300 of that bill covered a single day, which was a public holiday," Ross said. 

“To put that into context, to run up those charges he would have needed to have sent 8,000 emails in that one day. That’s an email written and sent every 10 seconds continuously for 24 hours.

“All this while the Health Secretary was in Morocco on holiday.”

In response, Yousaf said: “There is clearly more to say on this issue. That is why Michael Matheson has agreed to make a personal statement later today.”

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Ross then called on the FM to sack Matheson for "dishonesty" over the charges. 

“The evidence shows that Michael Matheson claimed the £11,000 of taxpayers’ money when he knew it wasn’t for parliamentary work," the Scottish Tory leader said. 

"It wasn’t just a mistake, it was dishonest.”

In response to calls from Ross to remove Matheson from office, the First Minister said the charges are “a matter between Michael Matheson as an MSP and the parliamentary authorities”.

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The Health Secretary has been focusing on “ensuring our NHS recovers through the course of what will be one of the most challenging winters it has faced”, the First Minister added.

Yousaf added: “Honest mistakes do happen. Michael has been a member of this Parliament since its inception, all of us who have worked with him know he is a man of honesty and indeed of integrity.

“Instead of rushing to besmirch each other, perhaps our politics would be a little better if we gave each other the benefit of the doubt.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar called on the FM to sack the leaders of Glasgow’s health board after it was named a suspect in an investigation into the deaths of patients.

And, in response to Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer, Yousaf said he would explore what action can be taken “within the limitations of devolution” around public money going to companies linked to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.