TORY ministers in the Scotland Office have been told you “can’t steal stolen property” after claims that Alister Jack is guarding the Stone of Destiny to ensure “nationalists don't steal it again”.

John Lamont told the Scottish Conservative conference in Glasgow that Jack, the Scottish Secretary, had been “unavoidably” called to London where he was defending the stone.

“Alister is primarily making sure the nationalists don’t steal it again,” Lamont told party faithful.

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

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The Stone of Destiny, a 125kg slab of pinkish sandstone, was stolen from Scone, near Perth, by Edward I of England’s forces in 1296.

It was kept in England for the next 650 years, until a group of Scottish students executed a daring heist.

The four students seized the stone 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.

In 1996, Tory prime minister John Major officially returned it to Scotland, but it has travelled south to England again for Charles’s coronation.

While it is in London, Jack (below) will guard it to ensure nationalists don’t “steal it again”, Lamont said, leading to condemnation from Alba.

The National: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack during a visit to Kilmarnocks 163-year-old Palace Theatre to hear more about the town's plans to restore the building and create a new cultural quarter. Picture date: Thursday January 19, 2023. PA Photo. East Ayrshire

The party’s general secretary, Chris McEleny, said: “Toom tabards like John Lamont and Alister Jack are a disgrace to Scotland. You can’t steal stolen property, just repatriate it. Dressing up in silly costumes doesn’t make you look patriotic, just silly.

“In Scotland, the Stone of Destiny is a symbol of sovereignty. In England, under the Coronation Chair, it is a symbol of claimed English overlordship of Scotland.

“The First Minister should not have participated in the charade with the company of archers. He should have put our stone under police guard and refused to send it to London until Scotland’s right to self determination is recognised.”

Humza Yousaf, who has also promised to make sure the stone is returned to Scotland, took part in a special ceremony earlier in the week to mark its journey south.

The SNP leader and First Minister was there in his capacity as Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and one of the commissioners for the safeguarding of the regalia.

Yousaf said after the service, which saw the historic stone piped out: “It was a very significant, historical moment. I’m delighted to be a part of it.”