LETTER : Batting with the umpire

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From Earl Russell

Sir: Douglas Hurd ("Malice and a failure to understand", 15 February) clearly prefers ministers to be accountable to Parliament than to judges. Could this be because Parliament, lacking the power to compel full answers to questions, is less effective than judges.

Mr Hurd believes discontent with the present system is "a failure to understand". Can he answer John Stuart Mill's question: "When has there been a dominion which does not appear natural to those who possess it?"

The rest of us may wonder whether a system which makes ministers accountable to a Parliament which they control, allows them to double the jobs of batsman and umpire. No wonder they play such long innings.

Yours sincerely,


House of Lords

London, SW1

15 February