Letter: What if Labour dumped the PM?

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Sir: Whilst Ian Corfield is correct in his criticism of "Cassandra" (letter, 18 November) in stating that "no post-war Labour leader has ever been pushed out of office", he overlooks the difference between the current and previous mechanisms for doing so.

Under the pre-1981 system, whereby the leader was elected solely by MPs, the leader was challenged only twice after 1945. The electoral college with which it was replaced was designed so that "ordinary party members" could hold the leadership to account and remove them if necessary.

Whilst this system has been modified, and it is now far more difficult to initiate a challenge, it still has not been tested in government, and thus its democratic legitimacy has not been tested either. The question is whether it is democratic to allow a few thousand Labour Party members to decide who should be the Prime Minister.

MATTHEW SEWARD

London W2

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