3 MARCH 1939, Page 6

The Government's opponents are entitled to derive some satisfaction, though

not a great deal, from the results of the last two by-elections. The Holderness contest was com- plicated by four candidatures, but if the unofficial and official Conservatives may both be regarded as in the main pro- Government, and the Liberal and Labour candidates as anti- Government, then the pro-Government majority was rather over 2,70o. In a straight fight in 1935 it was 11,901. At Ripon there was a straight fight, and the Government majority fell from 21,688 (in 1935) to 13,044. But Major Hills, whose death had caused the election, was a particularly popular member ; no newcomer could hope to approach his poll. Moreover, the result was so completely a foregone conclusion that Conservatives felt no urgent need to vote. Yet a third Yorkshire constituency, Batley and Morley, where there was a Labour majority of under 3,000 at the General Election, polls next Thursday.