Why did former minister Michael Matheson resign amid an iPad expense scandal?
After a tumultuous day in Scottish politics, Michael Matheson, facing three months of scrutiny over a controversial £11,000 iPad expense, has resigned, concluding his role in government service which spanned a decade.
Despite his assertion that he didn’t want to distract from governmental tasks, public and political focus had already shifted due to the intense media coverage which began last September when the expenses came to light, including the admission that his sons used the device for streaming football.
His resignation announcement came strategically at 11 am, an hour before the intense weekly First Minister's Questions, where the First Minister often faces tough inquiries, adding pressure to an already challenging time.
Additionally, Health Secretary Matheson was scheduled to discuss alcohol pricing policy, leading to Deputy First Minister Shona Robison stepping in abruptly.
Simultaneously, Labour was set to declare a significant policy shift, and Matheson's departure conveniently redirected the media spotlight, spurring some within Scottish Labour to remark on their luck with the timing.
The specific reason for choosing this particular time for resignation remains uncertain. However, a draft report from the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body investigation into his iPad expenses was completed and sent to Matheson just before his resignation.
He now has two weeks to respond before the report's potential public release. Without the findings, it's speculative whether the impending report drove Matheson’s decision to resign. The full impacts of the report are yet uncertain but may provide further insight into his abrupt departure.