FORMER first minister Alex Salmond has criticised Humza Yousaf for allowing the Stone of Scone to be sent to London for the coronation of King Charles.

According to the Alba Party leader, Humza should have refused to let the stone leave the country until Scotland’s right to self-determination was recognised by Westminster.

Although the SNP have secured a number of electoral mandates for indyref2 to be held, including the election of a pro-independence majority at Holyrood just two years ago, the Tory government has repeatedly ruled out granting a Section 30 order to devolve the relevant powers for a vote to be held.

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Taking such a stand now with the stone would had led to global publicity and given the First Minister a boost amid a slump in SNP polling, Salmond suggested.

Writing in the Sunday Mail, Salmond said: “In truth Humza Yousaf missed a great opportunity. Scotland’s national rights are currently being denied by Westminster. The Stone is a symbol of exactly that - Scotland’s national rights.

“Yousaf should have politely but firmly refused to send it back until Scotland’s entitlement to self-determination was recognised by London.”

Ash Regan, who stood against Yousaf and Kate Forbes for the SNP leadership role last month, had promised to block the stone from being returned if she won the election.

The MSP argued the stone should stay in its “rightful place” – with any aspect of the coronation requiring use of the ancient item taking place in Scotland instead of London.

However last week a ceremony was held to mark the stone’s return to England for the first time in over 25 years.

The National: First Minister Humza Yousaf stands beside the Stone of Destiny, which is also known as the Stone of

“It was ceremoniously taken back south to be used in the Charles III Coronation, with the new First Minister parading dutifully behind it like a pet poodle,” remarked Salmond.

Elsewhere in the article, Salmond acknowledged the increasing negative sentiment towards the royal family in Scotland – and the fact that nearly three-quarters say they don’t care about the coronation.

“Most Scots now back an elected head of state for an independent country and many people, including myself, will find better things to do next weekend than watching the British establishment on parade,” said the Alba leader.

“Of course the fate of a stone doesn’t equate to the destiny of a nation. However, successful nations carry the self-respect that comes with knowing their own history. And Scotland needs that knowledge, that self-respect, if we are to claim a better future where we can all be citizens not subjects.”