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The electorate of Ashburton is by no means to be regarded as occupying the position of a pocket borough, that is to sfty as a seat to which any particular person has a prescriptive right. ' The late member, who has represented it, or rather the greater part of it, during two Parliaments, has, it is true, not only been twice returned, but, lias been accorded votes of confidence at all his poWsessional speeches, and there were not a, few persons who predicted that he would on this ibefcaaion have a walkover. That, however, we never expected would*b<e the case, for m these stirring times an uncontested election is certain to be the very rare exception. Mr Walker has been a good, painstaking and industrious member, and commands the respect not only of both sides of the House, but of the entire population of the electorate, yet while, like all other members,' he has : gained political friends among; the electors during his Parliamentary career, he has doubtless, like all other members, also lost political friends, if he has not made political enemies — personal enemies we believe he has none. Then again while Mr Walker has, being himself a Liberal, always had the support of the Liberal electors, quite as naturally and necessarily he has] never had nor can be expected to have won over that of the Conservative electors. These latter at this time very properly propose to run a candidate or candidates'of their own. Mp Walker—so we gather from his speech the other day—declares for Liberal principles, but declines to be bound by all that may be advocated by Mr Baliance as the head of the Liberal .party during last session, his attitude being that of supporting " Measures not men." , And his past career is sufficient guarantee that he will support Liberal measures, and of necessity accept as his leaders those men who are most likely to give them effect. Mr James Brown, who come 3 next, as having been the next to declare himself a candidate, is^ we understand, also '"■& Liberal, but as to his precise views; we must of course wait to form an opinion until Thursday, when he will detail those views to the electors m public meeting assembled.. Mr C. W. Purnell has also now declared himself as a candidate. He has been m the field before, and his views on many public questions are therefore well-known. Like both the other candidates, he "has for years resided m our midst, is recognised as a man of ability, intelligence, and high character, and would no doubt make an excellent- member. But he does not affect to agree with us as to the side of the House which should have i his sympathy and assistance, being ! an avowed supporter of the present | Ministry, "which' Ministry m our i opinion should be displaced m favor of another at the earliest possible moment. Lastly ifc is asserted that a I requisition is to be presented to Mr i E. G. Wright, whose qualifications for a seat m the Houss are undeniable, and who, if returned, would not improbably at no distant date be found filling "the office o£ Minister f or Public Works, and filling it well. His record, both m and out of Parliament, is welltenowai,; and such as must deservedly obtain for him a large amount of support. It is premature as yet to assume that he will accede to the requisition, but if he should do so, we presume it will be, like Mr Purnell, as a Conservative, or perhaps we should say asan Atkinsonian candidate —unless he should elect to declare himself an Independent, and go up, if elected, free and unfettered. We shall know definitely as to the views and attitude of all the candidates before long, and meantime have only to congratulate the' electors upon the probability of their having so widen choice among such really capable men. Should all four come forward, and should they range themselves, as we imagine will be the case, two on each side, the battle will, from a Party point of view, be a fair trial of strength, and although we do not disguise our hope that throughout the Colony the Liberal Party will win, we should be glad to see all the Conservative candidates who are returned as good men as those who will contest Ashburton m that interest. For ourselves, we intend to give fairplay all round, by giving as full reports of the speeches of all the candidates as our space permits, and we would advise every elector to read those speeches, and whenever possible to attend the candidates' meetings, and then to weigh well all their utterances, and finally to take care to record his vote, and to record it m favor of that candidate with whose utterances he is most nearly m accord.

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Bibliographic details

THE REPRESENTATION OF ASHBURTON., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2549, 21 October 1890

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THE REPRESENTATION OF ASHBURTON. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2549, 21 October 1890