National People's Congress

Lawmakers to fly back for vote

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am

Out-of-town pro-government lawmakers have been asked to return to Hong Kong today to attend a House Committee meeting and prevent another ambush by pan-democrats which could delay tabling of the revised resolution on interim funding.

At least six lawmakers - including one National People's Congress member and three Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference members attending the state meetings in Beijing - will cut short their trips to be at today's meeting at which members will decide whether the government should table the revised resolution next Wednesday.

After urgent talks, the legislators decided some of them should fly back to ensure the pro-government camp outnumbered pan-democrats.

'If I go back, it will be safer. If things go wrong again at the House Committee, I will feel bad,' said committee chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee, who will preside over the meeting.

This was a U-turn by Lau, who just an hour earlier said she would stay in Beijing because she believed the pan-democrats were unlikely to oppose another vote on Wednesday.

She said the change of mind came after the Legco secretariat had conveyed to her the concerns of lawmakers over her absence, but she said the government had not contacted her directly.

Three delegates to the CPPCC - Cheung Hok-ming, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting and Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen - also plan to attend today's meeting in Hong Kong. NPC deputy Ip Kwok-him said the government had asked him to fly back to town but he declined.

'I am flying back because the government wants me to,' said Philip Wong Yu-hong, who is not a delegate but is in Beijing on other business.

Another out-of-town legislator, Abraham Razack, is also cutting short his trip. Asked whether it was as a result of a government request, he replied: 'Can I not answer this? I don't want to lie.' Wednesday's veto of the interim funding resolution has renewed the debate among Beijing loyalists over whether Hong Kong should follow the practice of Macau, where the legislature is suspended during NPC and CPPCC plenary sessions.