The relationship between Leung Chin-ying and his chief secretary is one of "perfect harmony", the chief executive said yesterday, rejecting suggestions that they are on bad terms.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor "is my right-hand woman. I very much respect her opinions," Leung said.
Suspicions of tension arose after former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said on Wednesday that Lam had been given little chance to voice her views and might resign if Leung did not value her suggestions.
But Leung declared: "I work in perfect harmony with Mrs Lam, the team of principal officials in the accountability system and all civil servants."
He also said the government had implemented polices that he had promised in his election platform.
"We will continue to co-operate fully. I believe that with the support and co-ordination of the principal-official team in the accountability system and all civil servants we will realise the promises in our election platform step by step."
In earlier comments, Chan said that "based on some of Lam's public comments, I sensed that … before [some initiatives were] rolled out, the chief secretary did not have a chance to voice her opinions or suggestions".
She said Lam was handling a tough job, "but because she is very passionate about her work, she will stay on until she feels she is no longer valued or sees something unacceptable to her".
Executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said yesterday that Chan would not know about the relationships between administration leaders now that she was no longer in the government.
"To suggest that [Lam might resign] hurts the solidarity of people working in the government. I don't think it's proper."
Ip said she felt Lam was not having as hard a time now as when she first became the government's No 2. "Now she's become happier. I don't feel she's discouraged," Ip said.
About two months into her term, Lam broke into tears in a television interview, admitting her credibility had suffered.
"Someone said I have had my popularity diminished by wading into the controversy of national education. Perhaps they are right," Lam said then.