The Ed Stone was broken up shortly after the general election, it has been revealed, putting an end to eight months of speculation about its whereabouts.
Two party officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Bloomberg News that the stone had been destroyed in the weeks following 7 May 2015.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband unveiled the 8ft 6in, two-tonne slab of limestone, with Labour’s six key election pledges carved into its surface, five days before polling day. The stone was designed to persuade the public that Miliband was serious about delivering on his promises in government. “They’re carved in stone because they won’t be abandoned after the general election,” said Miliband, standing in front of the stone in a car park in Hastings.
If Labour had won the general election, the stone would have taken its place proudly in the garden of No 10 Downing Street. When the Conservatives won a majority, journalists turned their attentions to trying to find the stone. The Daily Telegraph contacted 50 masonry firms in their search for the stone, while the Sun set up a hotline for any information. The Daily Mail offered a case of champagne to anyone who could confirm the Ed Stone’s location.
In November, the People’s History Museum in Manchester, home to an archive of Labour party history, made tentative inquiries into acquiring the Ed Stone for its collection – which includes the coat Michael Foot wore at the cenotaph in 1981 – but those they spoke to in the party denied any knowledge of the monument’s fate.
On Wednesday, Labour blamed an administrative error for the party’s failing to send invoices for the plinth to the electoral commission as part of its general election spending report. Speaking to Bloomberg, Labour sources said that the invoices, once found, showed that the stone cost just under £8,000, rather than the £30,000 which was reported by newspapers at the time.
This article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 21st January 2016 13.54 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010