MICHAEL Matheson has resigned as Scotland's health secretary.

The SNP MSP was forced out of his Cabinet role after an investigation into an £11,000 roaming bill he racked up on his iPad while on holiday in Morocco.

Matheson had initially agreed to claim £3000 of the bill as part of his expenses allowance, while his office provision paid the rest – meaning the public purse covered the bill in full.

However he later agreed to cover the cost himself, and admitted the fees were the result of his teenage sons using his parliamentary iPad as a hotspot to watch football.

The Daily Mail reported on Thursday that a probe into Matheson's claims around the £11k bill had found "damning new evidence", but in his resignation statement the SNP MSP claimed not to have yet seen the report.

In a resignation letter sent to the First Minister, Matheson said: "Having requested that the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body review my data roaming charges from last year, I am conscious that this process will conclude in the coming weeks.

"I have still not received the findings of their review, however, it is in the best interest of myself and the Government for me to now step down to ensure this does not become a distraction to taking forward the Government's agenda. 

"Throughout my time in office, I have been supported by dedicated civil servants without whom it would be impossible to do my job. I would like to thank them for their guidance and support during my time in Government. 

"I am enormously grateful to you for appointing me as Health Secretary and for the support that you have given me throughout the last year, it has meant a great deal to both me and my family."

Matheson had been facing to calls to quit since it was revealed that he lied to the media about the iPad bill, claiming the £11k bill had been racked up doing parliamentary work.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Stormont milestone lays bare relentless snubbing of Scotland

The First Minister defended Matheson as a “man of integrity”, saying: “For me, Michael – who I’ve known for well over 15 years – is a man of integrity, honesty.

“He should have handled the situation better, Michael knows that and he’s apologised for that.”

After the news of his resignation broke on Thursday, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said Yousaf had questions to answer.

"Michael Matheson has finally resigned after expecting taxpayers to foot an £11k bill for his iPad roaming charges," Ross wrote.

"@HumzaYousaf must explain why he defended him as a 'man of integrity and honesty' when he knew his former health secretary had lied."

Scottish Labour echoed Ross in saying that Yousaf had “big questions to answer over his lack of judgment” after he backed Matheson.

Jackie Baillie, the group’s depute leader at Holyrood, said: "While our NHS is in crisis, Humza Yousaf has shown his weakness by putting the SNP before our NHS. Now more than ever we need a health minister focused on the crisis at hand.”

Reports have suggested that Yousaf will appoint a replacement for Matheson on Thursday.

The First Minister said he accepted Matheson's resignation with "sadness".

In a letter, Yousaf wrote: "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."