The prospects of the contest in Central Birmingham are not
very reassuring. Mr. Balfour went down to Birmingham yesterday week to try and persuade the Conservatives to give a hearty support to Mr. J. Albert Bright. His speech was extremely persuasive and most cordially received. He admitted at once that the Conservatives of Birmingham, considering their numerical strength, have a grievance in being represented by only one Conservative Member, the Home Secretary, and that they are especially misrepresented in Central Birmingham, where the Conservatives greatly out- number the Liberal Unionists. If, as is generally asserted, they had a clear understanding with the Liberal Unionists that Lord Randoph Churchill was to succeed Mr. Bright, this grievance assumes a more serious aspect. Nevertheless, said Mr. Balfour, considering that there was a general under- standing between the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists in the country that a Conservative should succeed to a Conservative vacancy, and a Liberal Unionist to a Liberal Unionist vacancy, and considering the immense advantages which this arrangement has brought to the Government and the steady support that the Liberal Unionists have given them in Parliament, he thought that it would not be wise to impair the cordial understanding between the two parties, by refusing to give a hearty support to Mr. J. A. Bright. He carried the meeting with him, but the meeting did not carry all its leaders. Mr. Rowlands, for instance, has announced his disgust and his resignation of his position as President of the executive body of the Conservative Asso- ciation; and there is little doubt that Conservative abstentions at the poll will be only too common.