HC Deb 16 October 1996 vol 282 cc819-20
14. Mr. Bill Walker

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the future location of the Stone of Destiny; and if he will make a statement. [38720]

Mr. Michael Forsyth

I have received a number of representations on the location of the Stone of Destiny on its return to Scotland, including from my hon. Friend.

Mr. Walker

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Can he confirm that no final decision has yet been reached and that the proposals for a kingship centre and for the stone to be located at Scone are still in the running?

Mr. Forsyth

I can confirm that no announcement has been made; I hope to make one shortly. The announcement will take full account of the representations made by my hon. Friend, in particular his proposal for a kingship centre at Scone.

Ms Roseanna Cunningham

As the other Member of Parliament representing Perthshire, may I add my voice to those who have called for the stone's ultimate return to Scone, where it of course belongs? When that great symbol of Scottish nationhood is returned, will the Secretary of State also consider the return of some of the realities of our nationhood?

Mr. Forsyth

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her representations. The important fact is that the stone will return to Scotland on the 700th anniversary of its removal. I am sure that its place in Scotland will be more permanent than the hon. Lady's place in Perthshire.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths

Will the Secretary of State admit that there is really only one place for the Stone of Destiny to rest—in the capital city of Edinburgh? Will he assure the House and the people of Scotland that, wherever the Stone of Destiny is lodged, it will be accessible to as many people as possible, and certainly to people with disabilities?

Mr. Forsyth

The criteria that need to be met for the placing of the stone were set out fully in the consultation paper. We have received a number of representations, although I am not aware that the hon. Gentleman made one. I can see that he is now doing so from a sedentary position. I promise that I will revisit the representations before making an announcement.

Forward to