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Coronation Stone

Volume 486: debated on Monday 16 April 1951

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4.

asked the Attorney-General if he has any further statement to make on the case of the Coronation Stone.

Not yet, Sir. Difficult considerations of law are involved. I have the matter under consideration, and hope to make a statement in the course of the week.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that a letter addressed to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was laid on the steps of Arbroath Abbey and has not yet been delivered to the General Assembly? It may be that it is necessary to keep it for police purposes, but will he, at any rate, see that a copy is sent to the Secretary of the General Assembly?

I am not responsible for the delivery of letters that are laid on steps, whether of Arbroath Abbey or anywhere else, either in Scotland or in this country.

Is the Attorney-General aware that this matter should not be treated as an ordinary police theft, because, rightly or wrongly, some patriotic emotion has been aroused? Would it not be a good thing to leave well alone?

Has the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman been drawn to the article in a Sunday newspaper, the rough gist of which was "How I Did It," by the person who stole the Stone? If so, does he not think that article entirely improper?

I have not read the article in question, but I have a good deal of evidence as to how people did it, apart from newspaper articles.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take the opportunity of expressing the deep distress of the people of England at this incident, at finding so much anti-English feeling on the part of the Scots, whom they have always regarded as brothers, and their distress at the sacrilege involved?

The incident is no doubt a distressing one to many people on both sides of the Border. I have to consider whether it is one in which it would be appropriate to bring criminal proceedings.

May I assume that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be in no way influenced by political considerations in enforcing the criminal law?