North Ayrshire and Arran's Conservative election candidate has called on the SNP's Patricia Gibson to tell voters if she believes former health secretary Michael Matheson should resign as an MSP.

The call from Todd Ferguson came after the Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee recommended that the Falkirk West MSP should be suspended from Parliament for 27 days.

Mr Matheson was forced to resign from his cabinet post after he charged taxpayers £11,000 for iPad roaming charges which were racked up while on holiday in Morocco.

At First Minister’s Questions, SNP leader John Swinney defended his “friend and colleague” Michael Matheson and said that the committee process had been “prejudiced”.

Mr Ferguson said John Swinney’s remarks were “shameful” and “breathtakingly out of touch” with public opinion on Mr Matheson.

He has now written to SNP candidate Ms Gibson asking her to confirm whether they back the calls from the Scottish Conservatives that Michael Matheson should quit as an SNP MSP.

Mr Ferguson said: “Michael Matheson misused taxpayers’ money. He lied to the public, press and parliament.

"Anyone in the real world would have lost their job for doing what he did. He should be suspended from the SNP and resign as an MSP.

“However, John Swinney continues to defend the indefensible. His responses in Holyrood were shameful and shows how breathtakingly out of touch he is with public opinion on this scandal.

“Voters in North Ayrshire and Arran will soon have their chance to have their say on this scandal.

“They deserve to know if Patricia Gibson agrees with John Swinney or whether they believe Michael Matheson should finally do the right thing and quit as an MSP, which is why I have written them urging them to be open with local voters."

He concluded: “Voters in North Ayrshire and Arran have the opportunity on July 4 to punish the SNP for their disgraceful handling of the Michael Matheson scandal."

Ms Gibson has been approached for comment.