ALISTER Jack could not be at the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow because he is in London “guarding the Stone of Scone” to make sure the “nationalists don’t steal it again”, a Conservative minister has said.

John Lamont appeared on the conference stage to apologise for Jack’s absence – something others apparently had not been made aware of – and quipped that he was “unavoidably” in London guarding the Stone of Destiny.

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

READ MORE: New symbols found on Stone of Destiny ahead of transportation for coronation

“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.”

The Stone of Destiny is currently in England for the coronation of King Charles III. It is the stone’s first time south of the Border since it was officially returned to Scotland by Tory prime minister John Major in 1996, 700 years after it was stolen during the Wars of Independence.

It was last used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, shortly after four Scottish students seized the Stone of Destiny in a Christmas Day raid in 1950, bringing it back to Scotland and keeping it hidden for months until it was left on the altar of Arbroath Abbey and discovered in April 1951.

Jack spoke to the conference through a video, where he apologised for his absence.

“I'm very sorry I can't be with you in person,” he said, “but I have an important job elsewhere helping to prepare for the coronation of his majesty the king.

“I hope you'll agree that as excuses go, that one passes muster.”

The Scottish Secretary went on to attack the SNP and Greens in his speech, accusing them of being “totally incompetent”.

“Douglas Ross summed up perfectly what we and most of Scotland are thinking: this SNP-Green administration isn’t just misguided – it is totally incompetent.

“Douglas laid bare their litany of failure. I enjoyed his speech immensely but, I have to admit, one nagging thought did wipe the smile off my face. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my job to work with these people!

“And believe me, it is not always easy. In my experience, the SNP are not a serious party of government, they are simply a campaign organisation for independence.”

The SNP has been approached for comment.