THE SNP look set to agree to suspend former health secretary Michael Matheson from the Scottish parliament for 27 days.

The party will also agree to dock their colleague’s pay for 54 days, in line with recommendations from Holyrood’s standards committee, judging by a motion amendment submitted by Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes.

On Wednesday, the Scottish Parliament is set to vote on a motion in the name of Labour MSP Martin Whitfield, the convener of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, which asks MSPs to agree to the recommended punishments for Matheson.

It comes after the former health secretary was found to have racked up an £11,000 bill on a parliamentary iPad, before lying about it and trying to make taxpayers foot the charges.

The standards committee recommended a suspension of 27 days and a loss of pay for 54 days over the incident, but last week SNP First Minister John Swinney said he could not back the recommendations.

Swinney said that Tory MSP Annie Wells had prejudiced the committee by publicly prejudging the outcome.

However, the SNP look to have U-turned.

An amendment to Whitfield’s motion which would enact the sanctions, tabled by Forbes, does not remove any of the recommendations.

Instead, it only adds words condemning Wells’s behaviour onto the end of Whitfield’s motion.

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The suggestion is that the SNP will back both the motion as amended, which would see Matheson suspended for 27 days.

A separate amendment is expected to be moved by the Tories and would call on Matheson to resign as an MSP entirely. The Greens have said they will not back this one, meaning it is all but certain to fail.

Whitfield’s motion reads: “That the Parliament notes the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee's 1st Report, 2024 (Session 6), Complaint against Michael Matheson MSP (SP Paper 597), and agrees to impose the sanctions recommended in the report that the Parliament excludes Michael Matheson MSP from proceedings of the Parliament for a period of 27 sitting days and withdraws his salary for a period of 54 calendar days to take effect from the day after this motion is agreed.”

And Forbes’s amendment would add onto the end of Whitfield's motion the words: “recognises that Stephen Kerr MSP resigned from the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee in March 2024 as he had made public pronouncements on this case ahead of the complaint being heard by the committee; agrees with Stephen Kerr MSP that to have remained as a committee member 'would have been wrong' as he 'couldn’t meet the test to be unbiased'; notes that Annie Wells MSP also made public pronouncements on this case in advance of the complaint being heard by the committee and has remained a committee member throughout; agrees that this runs the risk of the committee report being open to bias and prejudice and the complaint being prejudged, thereby bringing the Parliament into disrepute; further agrees with the disappointment expressed by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee that material relating to the committee's deliberations appeared in the media prior to its decisions being reached and announced, and calls on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to initiate an independent review of the Parliament’s complaints process to restore integrity and confidence in the Parliament and its procedures."

The vote is due to be held in the Holyrood chamber on Wednesday.

Matheson has said he will accept any punishment that parliament decides but he has refused to resign as an MSP.