A whopping $14,000 iPad data bill could see a Scottish politician suspended for 27 days and stripped of his salary for 54 days

iPad Air with M2 chipset
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Reports surfaced last year that Michael Matheson, a Scottish politician, had managed to rack up a whopping £11,000 (around $14,000) in roaming data charges on his work iPad while on a family holiday in Morocco. At the time we were told that the reason for the bill was the man's reluctance to change the SIM card to one approved by the government's IT professionals. It later transpired that the huge amount of data usage was because his kids had used the iPad as a mobile hotspot to watch a soccer game.

The fallout of the incident continues to rumble on and while Matheson has now paid for the charges himself, more punishment is expected. He's now been told that he could face a 27-day ban from parliament as well as a 54-day reduction in salary.

The proposals are set to be voted on but are already causing controversy.

An expensive soccer game

The BBC reports that such a punishment would be the most severe ever handed out by the Scottish Parliament and that the 54-day salary reduction roughly matches the £11,000 data bill, although it's as-yet unclear whether that's just a coincidence.

However, Labour MSP Martin Whitfield, the committee convener, says that the sanction could have potentially been even stronger. “Had it not been for mitigatory factors, including the impact on the member and his family, the sanctions proposed would likely have been greater,” he said.

Notably, Matheson had previously said that the iPad was only used for work purposes before admitting that his kids had chewed through the data while watching a Rangers vs Celtic soccer game.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.