Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Michael Matheson, has tendered his resignation to the First Minister today, months after the matter of the £11,000 bill for data roaming charges for his government iPad first came to light.

The First Minister has accepted the resignation and thanked Mr Matheson for his work. This is the second Cabinet Minister to resign this week – the other, Elena Whitham was previously Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister resigned due to ill health.

First Minister’s letter to Michael Matheson:

“Dear Michael,

“It is with sadness that I accept your resignation from the role of Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health, and Sport.

“It is right that, having requested that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body review your data roaming charges from last year, that you fully engage with that process as it comes to its conclusion.

“I agree that it is therefore best for you to now step down to ensure you are able to give the Parliamentary process the attention it deserves without it becoming a distraction to taking forward the Government’s agenda.

“You have set out some of the highlights of what has been a distinguished career in government. I know that your work in Government will be felt for many years to come. In Net Zero, Transport and Energy, you launched the five-year plan to help build Scotland’s hydrogen economy, backed by more than £100 million of funding – an effort that will contribute greatly towards a just transition for Scotland. You also took forward a new Transport Scotland Act to transform Scotland’s transport system and ensure it is cleaner and more accessible for the future.

“As Justice Secretary your work on Domestic Abuse, in particular the strengthening of powers to tackle psychological abuse have the changed the lives of people who are in desperate need.

“I know your most recent role as Health Secretary is one that you have given your all. Under your watch a new 10 year Cancer Strategy has been developed and is being implemented, innovations like Hospital-at-Home are being rolled out further than ever before, and vital support staff like Link Workers have been protected.

“One matter that should not be overlooked is that you secured a fair deal with our NHS Scotland Junior Doctors. Your efforts have ensured that Scotland continues to be the only nation in the UK that has not lost a single day to strike action.

“You have given your country tremendous service in Government, and I know that you will continue to represent the people of Falkirk West with that same energy and dedication.

“I wish you and your family only the very best.

“Yours, for Scotland”

Mr Matheson joined the Scottish Government in 2011 as Minister for Public Health. He was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Justice in 2014, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in 2018, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport in 2021, before being appointed as Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care in March 2023.  

Health Secretary Michael Matheson, the First Minister and CEO of Thistle Foundation, Mark Hoolahan, in September 2023 PHOTO ©2023 The Edinburgh Reporter
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