MURDO Fraser was left red-faced at the Scottish Tory conference after he told members that Alister Jack was “waiting in the wings” to deliver a keynote speech – before welcoming the Scottish Secretary to the stage.

But Jack did not appear – because he is in London, something Fraser apparently hadn’t been told.

Instead, after the stage briefly remained empty, Scotland Office minister John Lamont appeared.

Lamont said Jack – who was at the conference on Friday – was “unavoidably” in London because he was “guarding the Stone of Scone”.

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“Alister is primarily making sure the nationalists don’t steal it again,” Lamont went on.

“He’s also making absolutely certain that it does, the stone does come back to Scotland.

“And when it does, when the stone returns to Scotland, it will reside in a fantastic, purpose-built museum in Perth, funded by £10 million from the United Kingdom government.”

Jack did then appear on video to deliver his speech to the conference.

In it, the Scottish Secretary took particular aim at the Greens, SNP, and Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson (below).

The National: Angus Robertson, now Constitution Secretary in Holyrood, led the SNP in Westminster between 2007 and 2017 (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Too often the SNP and the Greens seek to undermine [devolution],” he said.

“They use their position in government not to focus on people’s priorities, but to promote separatism.

“They use their position to manufacture phoney grievances as part of their endless campaign to tear Scotland out of the UK.”

Taking aim at Robertson, Jack went on: “And what about ‘Air Miles Angus’?

“It is simply not acceptable for Scottish Government ministers to abuse the support they receive from the Foreign Office during overseas visits.

“Let me be clear, ladies and gentlemen.The Foreign Office has and always will support the Scottish Government to promote Scotland abroad.

“But nationalist ministers should not expect the Foreign Office to facilitate high-level meetings overseas so they can undermine UK Government policy and promote their independence campaign.

“And I am delighted that Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has taken on board the widely-shared concerns about this and issued clear new guidelines to UK diplomats.

“So Angus, spare me the crocodile tears.

“I’ll take no lessons on promoting Scotland from a man who has never backed a single trade deal in his life.

“Someone who has never had the confidence to see opportunities and back Scots to succeed as we open up new markets around the globe.

“That’s what promoting Scotland is all about. It’s not about independence and your Instagram account.”