HC Deb 16 June 1953 vol 516 cc733-4
45. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Prime Minister if, now that the Coronation is done, Her Majesty's Government will consider advising that the Stone of Scone should rest on Scottish territory.

51. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the cost of retaining the Stone of Destiny in Westminster Abbey, he will consider advising that the Stone of Destiny be placed for safe custody in Scotland.

The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)

The Coronation Stone has been in Westminster Abbey for over 650 years. It has a special significance for all countries in the Commonwealth, which was strongly reinforced by the Coronation which has just taken place. The decision to restore the Stone to its customary position in the Abbey, the traditional place of Coronation, commanded wide acceptance on both sides of the border; and it is not the intention of Her Majesty's present advisers to recommend any change.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Prime Minister aware that it costs a great deal to keep this Stone in Westminster Abbey, and that there are special installations which, whenever a Scotsman approaches the Stone, ring a bell in Scotland Yard? On the grounds of economy alone, would it not be far better to take the Stone back to Scotland and put it in a museum, where nobody would want to steal it?

The Prime Minister

I do not think it is worth while to grudge the small expense concerned to maintain this historic continuity.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that a final decision on a matter which involves such bitter controversy might well be held over until after the present season of rejoicing, and, particularly, until after Her Gracious Majesty's visit to the capital city of Edinburgh, when we all hope for a maximum of concord and a minimum of discord?

The Prime Minister

I am not in any way answerable for the Question having been asked.