HC Deb 12 April 1951 vol 486 cc1185-6
44. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations he has had regarding the Stone of Destiny; and whether he has any further statement to make about its whereabouts in Scotland.

Mr. Ede

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has kept me informed of the progress of his investigations into the removal of the Coronation Stone. The Stone was deposited at Arbroath Abbey yesterday and is now in the custody of the Glasgow police. The Stone has been examined by the Clerk of the Works at Westminster Abbey who is familiar with it and has identified it as the Stone removed from the Coronation Chair.

Mr. Stewart

Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what is likely to happen next to the Stone and to those who removed it?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir, it is not my custom to reveal to the House proposed police action. As to what is to happen to the people who removed the Stone, the Attorney-General gave an answer on that subject yesterday, and the matter is now his concern and not mine.

Mr. Rankin

Could my right hon. Friend assure us that no further steps will be taken which might inflame Scottish sentiment about the Stone of Destiny?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I can make no statement on that matter at all.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

May I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to see that the greatest tact, to say the least of it, will be exercised at the present juncture, and that the Stone will not be removed from Scotland until discussions at the highest level have produced a satisfactory result for all concerned, because there is considerable feeling in the matter?

Mr. Ede

The usual course in these matters must be followed.

Mr. Erie Fletcher

May we assume that the Stone will be returned to Westminster Abbey as soon as possible?

Mr. Ede

No, no assumption should be made at all at this stage.

Sir William Darling

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how it is that the police of Angus were not permitted to retain the custody of the Stone, why the police authority in Angus transferred the stolen Stone to the police authority in Glasgow? Was that under the direction of the Home Secretary or the Secretary of State for Scotland?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. It is an ordinary matter between the police in the two countries, as well as internally in either country, for property which has been stolen to be transferred to the police of the area in which it was stolen.

Mr. Eden

Would it not be better in the interests of all concerned to let this matter lie?

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.