The historic Stone of Destiny should not be used in King Charles’ upcoming coronation, former first minister Alex Salmond has said.
The Alba Party leader has called on the Scottish Government to reject any request to send the stone out of the country.
Used to inaugurate Scottish royalty for centuries, the Stone of Destiny was historically housed at the now-ruined Scone Abbey near Perth.
It was removed from Scotland by King Edward I in 1296 and used in the coronations of English monarchs and later monarchs of Great Britain and the United Kingdom following the Treaty of the Union in 1707.
The Stone of Destiny was famously removed from Westminster Abbey by a group of Scottish students in 1950, who intended to return it to Scotland but it broke in two during the removal process, and was later repaired by a Glasgow stonemason.
After it was located at Arbroath Abbey, the stone returned to London and was used in the coronation of King Charles’ mother, Elizabeth II.
In 1996, some 700 years after it was first taken from Scotland, the UK Government returned the Stone of Destiny to Scotland when not in use for coronations.
The historic item is now housed at Edinburgh Castle alongside the Scottish crown jewels.
Following the death of the Queen in September 2022, Historic Environment Scotland said the stone would be moved to London for King Charles’ coronation but would be returned north of the border afterwards.
Speaking to Sky News, Salmond admitted that while it was not his “most serious policy”, the historic stone should remain in Scotland.
He said: “In a context where the legitimate desire of the people of Scotland to at least have a referendum is being denied by the Westminster government, I don’t really see why any Scottish Government should just meekly say we’ll give you back the property which you stole 700 years ago.”
Asked if he would urge the winner of the SNP leadership race to keep the stone in Scotland, he added: “The authorities will probably whip it away before the contest is finalised, that’s the kind of underhand trick where it was stolen in the first place.”