A ROW is brewing over the future location of the Stone of Destiny with politicians in Edinburgh telling Perth’s city fathers they’ll only ever get to borrow the centuries-old symbol of Scotland’s sovereignty.

Previously, we’ve told of how Perthshire politicians have joined forces to lobby for the stone to be taken out of Edinburgh Castle and brought home to be made the centrepiece of a brand new £23 million museum in the city centre.

But they’re being resisted by MSPs and councillors in Edinburgh who say the rock should remain in the capital where it sits in the Crown Room at the castle, along with the Honours of Scotland – the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State.

Destiny was the coronation stone for Scottish kings for hundreds of years before being seized by the English in 1296 and installed in Westminster Abbey. In 1996 John Major’s Tory government returned it to Scotland in an unsuccessful bid to appease rising support for devolution.

READ MORE: Stone of Destiny: Public's views sought on move to Perth

Earlier this week, following a request from Perth and Kinross Council, the Scottish Government launched a consultation in a bid to gauge public opinion on where the stone should be located.

Under the terms of their Royal Warrant, it’s a body known as the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia who will consider all matters relating to the stone.

They will then advise the Queen, who will make any final decision.

Deputy First Minister and Perthshire North MSP John Swinney is one of those most keen on seeing the stone come out of the capital.

“The Stone of Destiny is widely regarded to have been quarried from Perthshire stone and was used for the coronation of the Kings of Scotland at Scone for many years,” he said. “It is therefore highly appropriate that the stone should return to Perthshire.”

Swinney added: “The arguments for returning the Stone to Perthshire are not just historical but also logistical. Perth is within 90 minutes’ travel time for over 70% of Scotland’s population and is therefore ideally located to capitalise on the desire of both Scots and tourists to visit the stone.”

Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said the stone should remain where it is.

“I don’t think we should be precious about it and there may be some merit in it being on shown in Perth,” he said.

“But the Stone of Destiny belongs with the Honours of Scotland and we don’t want to see them permanently separated.

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“A loan and a temporary relocation might be acceptable, but I would want to see it back in Edinburgh after that.”

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs (above) agreed. He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “It makes sense for people to see them all together in one place and with the large number of people visiting Edinburgh Castle it seems the best place to have them.”

“Perhaps Perth could borrow it for a bit,” he added.

Iain Whyte, leader of the Tory group on Edinburgh City Council, was sceptical: “Why not go the whole hog and take it to Scone?” he asked.

The SNP leader of Edinburgh council Adam McVey was more diplomatic: “We can see why Perth would want to host the Stone of Destiny – we’ve been its proud caretakers since it came home to Scotland more than 20 years ago.

“While this won’t be a decision for us to make, I know the Castle takes pride in being home to this incredible piece of Scottish history and culture and we will be keen to hear the views of the people of Edinburgh as this is considered.”

When the stone was returned the then Scottish Secretary, Michael Forsyth (below), described it as “a confident act of celebration of our United Kingdom and the Union of the Crowns.”

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The late SNP MP Margaret Ewing pointed out that the Stone was supposed to have been returned in 1328: “It may have taken this Parliament some 668 years since the treaty of Northampton to return stolen goods to Scotland, but in actuality the people of Scotland will return to themselves the power of having their own sovereign Parliament very soon.”

There are still some who believe that the displayed stone – which legend would have it was brought to Scotland by the mythical Prince Gathelus from Egypt in medieval times – is not the real stone.

It was famously repatriated on Christmas Day in 1950 by a group of Scottish nationalists, before being returned a year later. A popular tale is that only a fake stone was returned, and that the real one remains hidden.