Letter: In Brief

Sir: Tony Blair is understood to be contemplating an election in 2001, a year ahead of time. Should any prime minister these days, except in the rare event of a political crisis which cannot be resolved in any other way, be entitled to manipulate the electoral calendar in this manner? Isn't the prerogative to do so, subject solely to the monarch's formal consent, an anachronism - like the hereditary principle - which has no place in a modern democratic state? Other countries, both monarchies and republics, get by perfectly well with fixed-term parliaments.

WALTER GREY

London N3

Comments