A spring reception hosted by the chief executive yesterday drew a lukewarm response, with many lawmakers failing to show up.
Absentees included at least four of the five Liberal Party legislators, but a party vice-chairman insisted it wasn't a boycott in response to the government's poor showing at its 20th-anniversary dinner in December.
Party leader James Tien Pei-chun - who accused Leung Chun-ying of banning his ministers from attending the dinner - did not attend the reception.
Nor did vice-chairmen Vincent Fang Kang and Felix Chung Kwok-pan. "It wasn't my first priority … and since it clashed with the reception of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association, of course I opted for the association's occasion," said Chung, who sits on the association's general committee.
Tommy Cheung Yu-yan was on a trip, while Frankie Yick Chi-ming could not be reached to confirm whether he attended.
In December, only a few undersecretaries turned up at the Liberals' anniversary dinner, which was seen by some as retaliation for the party's calls for an inquiry into the awarding of television licences.
Also absent yesterday were Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah, and Democratic Party lawmakers Albert Ho Chun-yan and Wu Chi-wai.
Ho said he had to attend a meeting of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China; Wu was hosting a Lunar New Year dinner.
It is understood that all lawmakers were invited.
League of Social Democrats' lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung did attend, but said he was expelled by security guards for shouting at Leung Chun-ying.