Letters - Allow a Senate to impeach PM

The sensible proposals in your Leader (3 February) advocating a wholly elected second chamber might be taken further. Elected every three years (like councillors) and limited to individuals aged over 50, "Senate" members should not only be barred from holding any government office but barred from membership of any (Commons) political party. Besides the powers of a revising chamber, the Senate should be able to block any major legislation for which the government had no mandate or which was opposed by the majority of voters (as registered in opinion surveys). The government could then try to obtain a mandate in a general election or referendum. The Senate should also have the power to impeach an autocratic prime minister for acting against the public interest (eg, involving the country in an unnecessary war) and to supervise the running of any referendum.

Don Weedon
Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex

This article first appeared in the 10 February 2003 issue of the New Statesman, Stop: wrong PM on the line