Humza Yousaf has “serious questions” to answer over Michael Matheson iPad "mistruths," Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader also accused the First Minister and his Health Secretary of "lying to the public" over the £11,000 data roaming scandal.

On Thursday, Mr Matheson told MSPs that his teenage sons were to blame for the eye-watering charge. 

The Health Secretary said the boys had tethered their devices to his parliamentary iPad so they could watch football during a family trip to Morrocco at the start of the year.

In a personal statement in Holyrood, a clearly emotional Mr Matheson told colleagues that he only learned about their use of his parliamentary iPad last Thursday, following days of media scrutiny over his staggering expenses claim. 

However, on Monday, when asked directly if there was "any personal use" of the device during the family holiday, he told reporters: "No”

When asked if anyone else had used it, he said no. 

He admitted that he had made mistakes but that he was trying to protect his family.


During the statement, Mr Matheson said he informed the First Minister of the truth on Tuesday.

But the following day, Mr Yousaf told journalists that the matter was “now closed.”

On Thursday, the First Minister described his colleague as a man of "honesty and integrity."

READ MORE: Michael Matheson blames teenage sons for £11k data roaming bill

Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to St Fergus gas terminal, alongside Sir Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband, Mr Sarwar said he had “every sympathy” for Mr Matheson but that the Health Secretary must now consider his position.

He said: “I’ve got every sympathy for a dad that struggles with teenage boys – I’ve got two teenage boys myself.

“But the issue here is the cover-up. Michael Matheson has changed his story.

“He has now admitted that he became aware on Thursday what the true situation was but continued for three or four days afterwards to tell mistruths about what actually happened and mislead both Parliament and the public.

“That’s not right and it’s not appropriate. He also says he told the First Minister on Tuesday – why did the First Minister then mislead the public on Wednesday?

“I think there are serious questions that need answering and I absolutely think Michael Matheson should be considering his position.”

The Herald:

He added: “I think the First Minister has handled this atrociously. He is carrying on this wider culture of secrecy and cover up, thinking they can blag their way through day by day, hoping problems go away.

“That’s not the way to run a government and it's not the way to run a country. They should come clean, tell the truth and, for once, be held accountable and held responsible for their actions.

“Lying to the public is not right for anyone to do, particularly not for the Health Secretary, nor the First Minister.”

READ MORE: UNSPUN 🗳️ Michael Matheson: Why iPad bill makes his position untenable

Meanwhie, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has written to the First Minister to demand an apology and explanation to the public after he said he had “full confidence” in Mr Matheson.

He said Mr Yousaf’s “integrity is on the line every bit as much as that of his friend”.

He added: “He owes the public an explanation and apology for giving his unequivocal backing to a minister he knew had knowingly lied to the country when he claimed that the iPad had only been used for work purposes.

“On Wednesday, the First Minister was still parroting the line that this was an honest mistake related to an old SIM card, when he knew the truth.”

Mr Ross added: “The fact is the Health Secretary has lied and covered up throughout this scandal and the First Minister appears to have aided and abetted him.

“The country can see Michael Matheson’s position is untenable. If Humza Yousaf refuses to sack him, he is condoning ministers lying to the public and misleading parliament.”

Scotland’s Culture Secretary, Angus Robertson defended Mr Matheson, describing him as a “very capable” person.

He told the PA: “The opposition is going to say what the opposition is going to say, there’s no surprise there.

“I listened very closely to Michael Matheson’s statement. And I think any fair-minded person will appreciate the circumstances which he outlined for the Parliament. And he’s referred himself to the corporate body which will investigate the matter.

“That’s quite right and proper. I’ve known Michael now for decades and I sit around the Cabinet table from him where he is working very diligently in the health portfolio area, and I look forward to him continuing to do that.”