IN this age of on-demand programming and box-set marathons, “to be continued” has become a thing of the past. The era of instant gratification means it is now rather old-fashioned to keep people waiting around for answers.

But that’s exactly happened at FMQs on Thursday, as the First Minister batted away questions about Michael Matheson’s eye-watering £11k iPad bill with promises that the minister would make a statement later that day.

The First Minister said he didn’t want to pre-empt the Health Secretary’s personal statement on the issue, which led to a boisterous round of questions and answers between himself and the Scottish Tory leader.

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Douglas Ross began by asking the First Minister whether he believed Michael Matheson ran up the huge bill through data used purely on parliamentary business.

Humza Yousaf didn’t answer, but did reiterate that Matheson had repaid the full amount.

If anybody tuned into FMQs hoping that the rampant speculation on social media about whether the usage was linked to the football matches that were taking place in Scotland on the days of biggest data use, they’ll have been disappointed.

To be continued was the order of the day.

Douglas Ross (below) went on: “For nearly a year, Michael Matheson was happy for the taxpayer to pick up this bill. He made no attempt to repay it until he was caught. His story is farcical beyond belief.”

The National: The Scottish Tory leader was speaking from the party’s UK conference in Manchester (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He then repeated his previous question, this time seeking a “guarantee” from the First Minister that the bill was run up on parliamentary business.

As the First Minister stood up to begin his reply to the Scottish Tory leader, loud heckles from the backbenches forced the Presiding Officer to make her first intervention of the session, barely four minutes into proceedings.

“We cannot hear the response when people are shouting from seats!” she said.

“The response is, there is clearly more to it…” teased the First Minister.

He again cited the upcoming personal statement from Michael Matheson and said the Health Secretary would lay out to the chamber “exactly what happened”.

Douglas Ross then changed strategy, saying that the First Minister had put his own personal reputation “on the line” over the iPad mystery.

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“When this story broke, Humza Yousaf said the £11k bill was a legitimate expense. He said the money didn’t need to be repaid to the taxpayer. He said – and I quote – ‘I absolutely take Michael at his word’.

“Humza Yousaf’s integrity is at stake here.”

“To get a lecture on principles and integrity from the party that gave us Boris Johnson is quite something,” replied the First Minister, to enthusiastic applause from his backbenchers.

He went on: “It is clear there is more that has been discovered in relation to the iPad and the expense, Michael Matheson will make that clear in a statement later on this afternoon … I do have absolute confidence as Michael Matheson as cabinet secretary for health.”

Douglas Ross used his final question to the First Minister to highlight the fact that he hadn’t managed to get an answer on whether the First Minister himself believed the bill had been racked up on parliamentary business.

The National: First Minister Humza Yousaf was the target of abuse (PA)

The First Minister (above) shot back, saying that he had answered Douglas Ross’s question.

“NO YOU HAVE NOT” Douglas Ross shouted across the chamber.

This led to a fiery back and forth between the Presiding Officer and the Scottish Tory leader, as frustrations in the chamber bubbled over.

It ended as it started: with a plea to wait and see.

The personal statement from the health secretary could contain a resignation, a reasonable explanation, a comically far-fetched excuse or a sombre exceptional circumstance that explains the huge bill.

Whatever will unfold, it won’t be during this session of FMQs.

To be continued…