Diners at posh London restaurant uncover 'EdStone'

Notorious stone tablet with ex Labour leader Ed Miliband's 2015 general election pledges spotted in outdoor area of the Ivy Chelsea Garden

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Diners claim to have uncovered a sought-after political artefact - the so-called "EdStone" - in the garden of an upmarket London restaurant.

A stone tablet bearing former Labour leader Ed Miliband's 2015 general election pledges has been spotted in the outdoor area of the Ivy Chelsea Garden, on the King's Road, Chelsea.

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The much-mocked original was last known to have been stored at a warehouse in Woolwich as of May 16 2015, before reportedly being destroyed.

But diners at the eatery spotted a remarkably similar monolith - bearing six promises below the words "A Better Plan. A Better Future" - buried among foliage in the outdoor dining area.

Adventurer Ben Fogle tweeted: "Look at what I just discovered in a hidden, overgrown corner of Chelsea. Do you want it back @jeremycorbyn #edstone".

BBC reporter Jack Evans also joked: "Me and @katyballs have found the #edstone".

The restaurant's owners, Caprice Holdings, said the tablet had been purchased shortly after the election.

A spokesman for Caprice Holdings, whose chairman is millionaire Conservative donor Richard Caring, said: "We bought the stone a couple of years ago at a charity auction.

"We thought it would be fun to have Ed's Stone, which was such an iconic image of the election, and put it outside in the garden.

"So many people comment on it and it was an opportunity too good to pass up."

The whereabouts of the original became a mystery after the Tories swept to power in 2015 and a national newspaper set up a hotline for sightings, while there were also reports of several replicas.

And the stonemasons behind the eight-foot limestone block said they believe it had been "smashed" and they have not been commissioned to make another one.

Steve Vanhinsbergh, co-owner of Stone Circle, also said the slab was unlikely to have been strong and stable enough to be installed in the restaurant garden.

Mr Vanhinsbergh, who said he was previously under a non-disclosure agreement, said: "I'm 99% sure it's smashed. It was not returned here, but I know it was smashed because I know the man who smashed it.

"The original was too big - it was three metres tall. You could not lift it without a crane. It was 400kg.

"You have to handle it like a pane of glass. It will fold up. Like with all marble and stone, you have to treat it very carefully."

The company, based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, has not made a replica, Mr Vanhinsbergh said, adding: "I did think to myself we could be making a s***-load of money out of this."

The tablet helped land Labour a £20,000 fine from the Electoral Commission after the party omitted two payments totalling £7,614 relating to the eight-foot block of stone from its election campaign spending return, a breach of the rules.

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