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New Culture Minister in Scottish Government reshuffle

It’s been a hectic 24 hours in Scottish politics, following the resignation of Michael Matheson over his £11,000 iPad bill.

It’s meant a new Health Secretary and also a wider reshuffle, including a new Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development.

What got us here is roaming charges. Michael Matheson, until 24 hours ago the Health Secretary, claimed back an £11,000 data roaming bill on his parliamentary iPad back in 2022.

These were initially reimbursed, but after it became public and the subject of a story in the Telegraph, he blamed an out of date Sim card and said he would pay the full cost of the bill. He also claimed that he was only using the iPad on holiday for constituency work.

However, a breakdown of the data was later released, showing it was actually his sons watching football. He said he hadn’t admitted this at the time, to protect them.

He referred himself to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

Yesterday he handed in his resignation, saying that he still hadn’t seen the report, but “he didn’t want to distract from the government’s agenda.”

A certain Manchester-based holiday company has already offered him a job as Head of Mobile Data…

So, to the reshuffle and Kaukab Stewart, who becomes the new Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development. Stewart replaces Christina McKelvie, who has been appointed as Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy.

“I am proud to bring the first ever Woman of Colour [sic] into government in Scotland – I believe another sign of the progress we are making as a nation, with the appointment of Kaukab Stewart as Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development,” said First Minister, Humza Yousaf.

“These new appointments reflect this government’s priorities and the missions that drive them – equality, opportunity and community – and I look forward to working with them as we continue to deliver for the people of Scotland.”

Stewart was a primary school teacher for almost 30 years, before moving into politics.

In the new role, she will be responsible for:

  • international development
  • creative industries and supporting the creative workforce
  • Youth Music Initiative and youth arts
  • culture, community engagement and libraries
  • Creative Scotland
  • other arts including performing arts, literature and poetry
  • Museums and Galleries Scotland and cultural collections
  • Major events (including Edinburgh festivals) and Themed Years
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • national performing companies
  • UNESCO World Heritage/ Intangible Cultural heritage

Parliament will be asked to approve the new appointments after recess.

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