THE Scottish Government has said they are "not aware" of a fragment of the Stone of Destiny being in an "Aladdin's Cave" cupboard for gifts, leaving the whereabouts of a piece unknown.

It comes after Alex Salmond rejected claims that he possesses a piece of the stone after a former Scottish secretary said he had “stolen” it.

According to files released earlier this month by the National Records of Scotland, the former first minister was given the fragment by professor Neil MacCormick, whose father helped finance the stone’s return to Scotland from Westminster Abbey in 1950.

The former first minister said he believed it to have been put in an “Aladdin’s Cave” cupboard for gifts at Bute House or the Scottish Government’s headquarters, St Andrew’s House - however the Scottish Government has rebuked the claim.

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are not aware of any Stone of Destiny fragments in either St Andrew’s House or Bute House.”

Salmond added that the Scottish Government gave a fragment of the stone to be encased in the seat of Queen Elizabeth’s carriage for her Diamond Jubilee in 2011, but he did not know if it was the same one.

“Whether that was the MacCormick fragment or another one, I am not altogether sure. What I can say, is that it is not in my possession, nor is it under my car seat!”, Salmond said.

The files showed Salmond was told he could keep the artefact by the Scottish Government’s top official, Sir John Elvidge, in 2008.

The National: Stone of Destiny

The Scottish Cabinet minutes recorded on September 16, 2008 read: “The First Minister said that he had met with Professor Sir Neil MacCormick who had presented him with a fragment of the Stone of Destiny as a personal gift. 

“The permanent secretary agreed that the fragment need not be surrendered to Historic Scotland.”

The size of the fragment is unknown.

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland said: "HES has no records from our predecessor organisation, Historic Scotland, about the purported fragment of the Stone of Destiny referred to in the 2008 Cabinet paper."

A Scottish Government spokesperson previously said: “The Stone of Destiny is the responsibility of the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia.

“The commissioners have been advised about the content of the 2008 Cabinet paper. The Scottish Government understands that the commissioners have simply noted the historical position.”

The Stone of Scone – also known as the Stone of Destiny – was stolen by King Edward during the first Scottish War of Independence and placed in Westminster Abbey, though some doubt exists over whether this was actually the real stone or if the English were tricked into taking a substitute.

A group of students in 1950 then took the stone taken by Edward back and placed it on the altar of Arbroath Abbey, before it was returned to London four months later.

Again, there were rumours that copies of the stone had been made and the returned stone was not the original.