21 SEPTEMBER 1991, Page 26


Sir: It is unfortunate that you choose to belittle the force of your arguments by reg- ularly inserting snide references to John Major. To suggest ('Fever Breaks Out', 7 September) that 'the Prime Minister...is no more democratically legitimate than Mr Gorbachev', does you no credit.

It may have escaped you that we have for a long time recognised that whoever is the leader of a party that can command a majority in Parliament shall be the Prime Minister, whichever side of a General Elec- tion his becoming leader might occur. Mr Major has been personally elected in a con- stituency, as have all those who voted for him last November. Noone elected the peo- ple who chose Mr Gorbachev. Indeed, elected Parliamentarians formed only a fraction of those who chose Mr Kinnock.

Was Churchill less than legitimate as Prime Minister during the war after replac- ing Chamberlain? Were Macmillan, Eden and Callaghan similarly so?

Proportional representation, fixed term Parliaments, and the future shape of the House of Lords may all be hotly debated in the months ahead. You will surely have a thoughtful contribution to make in that debate, but I fear you will be taken serious- ly only if you are not distracted by feeling compelled to make petty digs at the Prime Minister.

Alan Duncan

18 Gayfere Street, London SW1