FORMER health secretary Michael Matheson has been ruled to have breached the MSP code of conduct following a probe into the near-£11,000 bill he racked up on a parliamentary iPad.

Matheson stepped down from his cabinet post last month, citing an ongoing parliamentary investigation as the reason.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) published its findings on Thursday but said its full report would be released after consideration by Holyrood’s standards committee.

The SPCB ruled Matheson breached two sections of the code and has thereby upheld three complaints. 

“The SPCB decided that, based on the evidence presented in the Investigation Report and its findings in fact, Mr Matheson had breached sections 7.3 and 7.4 of the code of conduct and thereby upheld the three complaints within the SPCB’s remit,” the body said.

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"While the costs to the public purse had been addressed, the SPCB agreed that the Nolan Principles of Standards in Public Life, embedded in the scheme and underpinning the appropriate use of parliamentary resources, represented the high standard by which all members must abide and in which the SPCB considered the public must continue to have confidence.”

The report will be referred to the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee to consider if the former minister should be sanctioned.

The SPCB said it had made no recommendation regarding the removal of Matheson’s entitlement under the Reimbursement of Members’ Expenses Scheme. 

Matheson racked up the bill while on holiday in Morocco.

He 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.

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.

It transpired he knew of his sons using the device four days before he stated publicly there was no personal use.

When he resigned from his ministerial post, he said: "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."