Scottish Government minister Màiri McAllan has dismissed the row over Michael Matheson’s £11k data bill as a “political bubble” issue.

Speaking to journalists on the campaign trail, the Cabinet Secretary said the scandal was not “having cut through” with the public.

On Wednesday, MSPs voted to ban Mr Matheson from Holyrood for 27 days. He will also have his wages withdrawn for 54 days.

READ MORE: SNP anger as Matheson handed record ban from Holyrood

Ms McAllan told journalists: “It’s clearly a political bubble issue and one which I think needs to be put to bed.

“The man has been handed down the most severe sanction in the history of the devolution era, harsher than for issues of sexual misconduct in the past, he has lost his job, there has been no cost to the public purse and no-one has been harmed.

“I think he now needs to be allowed to take the sanction that he’s been handed and we need to forget about this issue.”

The affair dominated Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross asked John Swinney how expected to “keep his own integrity if he backs a man who has none?”

The First Minister pointed to the motion passed by MSPs on Wednesday which was amended by the SNP to criticise the Standards Committee.

A Tory member of the cross-party group had spoken out against Mr Matheson before considering the sanction.

The SNP amendment said that meant the process was therefore “open to bias” and could even bring “the Parliament into disrepute”.

Mr Swinney said the concerns he had raised about this had “now been endorsed by the democratic national Parliament of Scotland.”

Mr Ross heckled, pointing out that while a majority of MSPs had backed the motion, Mr Swinney did not.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone told the Tory leader to apologise – adding she would be “extremely frustrated and disappointed” if the interruptions continued.

READ MORE: The anatomy of a climbdown: Matheson's record Holyrood ban

Mr Swinney criticised Mr Ross. He said: “He cannot do anything other than resort to nasty personal abuse. That’s what Mr Ross contributes to this Parliament.”

Mr Ross earlier highlighted that Mr Swinney had previously called for then first minister Henry McLeish to resign “for the good of the Scottish Parliament” after he was forced to repay expenses during his time in power.

The Conservative leader said: “When it doesn’t involve someone in the SNP, John Swinney tries to talk like a man of integrity, he demands resignations, he speaks of trust, he preaches about honesty.

“But now it is his SNP friend, he abandons the principles he once had.”

Mr Swinney however recalled that in 2018, Scottish Tory MSPs had voted against a sanction being imposed on one of their group at Holyrood.

As a result, he insisted: “Mr Ross has got absolutely no credibility whatsoever to come here and suggest my conduct or my actions have been in any way inappropriate here.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar also hit out at Mr Swinney over his actions regarding Mr Matheson, saying: “Rather than defending Scots and protecting the integrity of Parliament, John Swinney chose to put his party before the country.”

He added: “Had this been at Westminster, Michael Matheson would now be facing a recall petition and potentially a by-election.

“But yet again the SNP hold Scotland to a lower standard, and believe it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else.”