The stone slab that formed part of an ill-fated Labour gimmick in the last week of the election campaign has finally been discovered in a south London warehouse.
The £30,000 slab featuring Labour’s six election pledges would have been put up in the Downing Street garden had Ed Miliband become Prime Minister. Instead, the Daily Mail has revealed that it is hidden in a non-descript warehouse on an industrial estate.
In a final humiliation, the paper also reveals that the 8ft 6in stone was carved by a “true blue” Tory who did not vote Labour.
On the final Sunday before polling day, Labour revealed the stone, saying it would sit in Downing Street as a permanent reminder of the party’s electoral promises. They would be literally set in stone.
However, the stunt drew widespread mockery, with social media users soon dubbing it the “Ed Stone” and comparing Ed Miliband to Moses.
— John Newton (@Kingsparkfisher) May 3, 2015
A truck collected the stone slab the morning after it was revealed and it has not been seen since. After the election resulted in a crushing defeat for Labour, the whereabouts of the stone became a media obsession, with the party keeping its whereabouts secret.
It is now believed to be in a storage site described by one worker as “full of stones – stacks and stacks of them.”
“You wouldn’t be able to find it in there if you wanted to. Everything is boxed up or wrapped, so it’s hard even for me to tell one from another.”
The site is owned by Paye, which looks after and repairs historic stonework from national monuments.
The stone was carved by Stone Circle, whose joint director Jeff Vanhisbergh said he could not discuss details due to a confidentiality clause with the Labour party. However, he did joke: “If it was David Cameron it might be a different story. I’m a true blue. It does seem that stone was the final nail in the coffin for Ed Miliband.
“I do feel a bit sorry for him as I’m sure it wasn’t his idea and he was just doing what his strategists told him. But whoever did come up with the idea, oh dear. It looked like he was trying to recreate the Ten Commandments.
“I must admit I did chuckle the day after it was revealed when I was shown all the mock-up pictures of Mr Miliband as Moses.”
After Labour unveiled the stone, Tony Blair’s biographer John Rentoul described it as “the most absurd, embarrassing, childish, silly, patronising, ridiculous gimmick I have ever seen,” while London mayor Boris Johnson called it “the heaviest suicide note in history.”
It is unclear what Labour now intends to do with the stone.