Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is "standing guard" over the Stone of Destiny to ensure "nationalists don't steal it again", the Scottish Conservative conference was told. 

Tory minister John Lamont took to the stage at the Glasgow conference and apologised for Mr Jack's absence stating he was "unavoidably detained in London". 

He reportedly quipped: “Alister is primarily making sure the nationalists don’t steal it again,”

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

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Mr Jack delivered his keynote speech via video link and said he could not be in Glasgow because he had "an important job elsewhere" preparing for the coronation of King Charles.

The Stone of Destiny has returned to England for the first time in more than a quarter of a centre this week. 

It is set to play a key role in the coronation and travelled down to London under tight security.

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The stone has become a symbol of Scottish nationhood but for 700 years was housed in Westminster Abbey.

It will be placed in the Coronation Chair for the enthronement of Charles, before returning to Scotland and put on display in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle in the weeks that follow.