Michael Matheson has made a statement in Scottish Parliament explaining his £11,000 iPad bill was due to his teenage sons watching football

The health minister was tearful as he apologised for running up the data roaming bill while on holiday in Morocco, which he initially expensed to the taxpayer. 

A breakdown of the data use, published by Parliament, shows the MSP 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 £8,666.39. 

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Mr Matheson had insisted the costs related “solely to parliamentary and constituency-related work” that he carried out during the trip.

But, speaking to Parliament on Thursday afternoon (November 16), he apologised for the roaming charges and said "the simple truth is they watched football matches". 

Michael Matheson Scottish Parliament statement in full

"I am grateful for the opportunity to make a personal statement to Parliament.
I want to address the significant level of interest in the data roaming charges associated with my parliamentary iPad during a family holiday in Morocco between the 27th of Dec and the 3rd of January this year. 
Firstly, I want to apologise to the chamber for the cost of the roaming charges. 
As I set out in my public statement on Friday, I accept that the charges have come about as a result of not updating the sim card in my iPad to the new contact provider. I also recognise that I should have informed Parliament IT of my holiday plans in advance of travelling, and that I would be taking two devices. 
That was my responsibility and I accept it in full.

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I therefore think it is important to set out to the Chamber all the facts of what has happened and, in particular, exactly how the charges came about.

I travelled to Morocco with my family – my wife and my two teenage boys – on the 27th of December. 
On the first day of the holiday – the 28th of December - I contacted the Parliament’s IT department, told them that I was out of the country, and that my parliamentary phone wasn’t working but that my iPad was working.
In the course of two phone calls, after an initial effort to get the phone working, Parliament’s IT department advised that they had checked with the network operator who explained that my data package was suitable for use in Morocco. 
They also advised that I should try removing and replacing the sim from my phone as the problem may be a fault with the sim card.

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Nothing in those discussions led me to believe there was any risks in using my iPad while in Morocco. I want to be clear with colleagues that I did not knowingly run up the roaming charges bill. Quite the reverse. 
I checked what I should do before I used the iPad. My mistake – and I wholly accept this – was not to have sorted all of this out long before I went to Morocco. 
In January this year I was informed of the high data charges accrued to my iPad. 
Of course, I queried the charges and Parliament confirmed they had contacted the provider for more information. At this time, I handed my iPad over to Parliament for it to be checked. 
It is important to be clear that, throughout this time, I was not clear what had caused the high charges. 

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I had not used the iPad for any purpose other than parliamentary and constituency business and so could not understand how the cost could be so high.
Parliament confirmed the network provider was unable to give them further details of what led to the charges.
In the absence of a clear explanation of how such a large bill could have happened, I thought it appropriate to make a contribution, through office allowances, of £3,000 towards the cost. 
Following the publication of my expenses last week, there was significant media coverage of the charges. 
Presiding Officer, it was at this point, last Thursday night, when I returned home, that I was made aware by my wife that other members of our family had made use of the iPad’s data. 

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This was the first I knew that the data had been used by anyone else. I had previously checked this but the truth only emerged after this story was in the news.

I should have pressed harder. Perhaps I should have been less willing to believe what I had been told.
Presiding Officer, I need to be very clear with you and colleagues today. The responsibility for the iPad is mine. The responsibility for the data usage is mine. 
That is why my wife and I made the immediate decision to reimburse Parliament for the full cost.
I contacted Parliamentary authorities the next day to make arrangements to reimburse the full cost of the roaming charges, and issued a personal statement to explain our decision.

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In my statement issued last Friday I made no reference to the use of data by my family. As a parent, I wanted to protect them from being part of the political and media scrutiny associated with this, something I believe any parent would want to do. 

I am a father first and foremost. That was a mistake and I am sorry.
I can see now that it just isn’t possible to explain the data usage without explaining their role.
Presiding Officer, the simple truth is they watched football matches. 
On Tuesday, I told the First Minster that members of my family had made use of the iPad’s data and yesterday evening, I provided him with a full account of the matter and of my intention to inform parliament. 

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Presiding Officer, disclosing this information about our family has been extremely difficult.
Mistakes have been made. By me. By my family. And mistakes have been made in the way I have handled this. 
I should have sorted the sim card. And, I should have investigated what happened more thoroughly. I accept that, take full responsibility and apologise unreservedly.
That is why the costs have now been fully reimbursed to Parliament.
And it is why I have today asked to refer myself to the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body under Section 7 of the MSP Code of Conduct so that they can consider whether to investigate the matter further to address any remaining questions to this Parliament’s satisfaction.
Presiding Officer, I take very seriously the reputation of the Scottish Parliament, of which I have always striven to be a diligent member since its restoration in 1999. 
My wish is that I can now focus fully on the vital duties that I have as MSP for Falkirk West and as Health Secretary. 
I hope members will accept my explanation, my self-referral under the Code of Conduct and my unreserved apology."