Sir, Daniel Finkelstein’s article rightly disparages the notion that a new PM would be required to have an election (“It’s dangerous to pretend the PM is a president”, Feb 2). In any case, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act is still in force. Hence a new PM might not have the power to call an election unless his or her MPs and the opposition or SNP also voted for one.
Next week the Lords will further consider the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill, which would repeal the FTPA and restore the prerogative power for the PM to request a dissolution and election. Present events and the claims made by Jacob Rees-Mogg may give peers another reason to ask MPs to think again about whether it would not be better, and more consistent with parliamentary sovereignty, for such a request for an election to be supported by a simple majority (not the two-thirds majority required under the FTPA, which led to the gridlock in 2019).
Former leader of the House of Commons and health secretary