The provisional legislature has cancelled its Saturday sitting following the failure of the chief executive's office to submit a draft bill on the use of Special Administrative Region flags on time. The draft bill is the second piece of legislation prepared by the chief executive's office. Last Saturday, the interim body conducted the first and second readings of the Holidays (1997 and 1998) Bill. Without the flag bill, the full sitting of the body had to be cancelled. Instead, members will meet in Shenzhen for a briefing by officials on the consultation document on civil liberties and public order. This will be followed by meetings of the house committee and its working groups on rules of procedure and administrative matters. Secretary for policy co-ordination at the chief executive's office, Michael Suen Ming-yeung, confirmed the bill could not be handed in for scrutiny because drafting had not been completed. He said there had been difficulty in coping with the workload, adding there were only two law draftsmen in the office. The bill will lay down the details of how post-1997 flags will be used. Mr Suen said it 'may be simple to the layman, but there is some complicated drafting to do'. A government spokesman last night stressed it was not helping in the drafting of any bills to do with the provisional legislature. 'We always say we won't do anything to undermine the current legitimate Legislative Council, in particular assisting any legislation which would be put forward to the provisional legislature,' the spokesman said. Provisional legislature president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said the situation was understandable. 'I think all would agree that the workload for the chief executive's office is very heavy. But there is little one can do because the Hong Kong Government has reiterated its position again and again,' she said. Mrs Fan said she was not worried that similar delays would occur in the future and strand the legislative process of the interim body. 'It would be better if the bills can be handed in to us earlier, but they have a lot of work to do.' She refused to speculate on the reasons for the delay, saying bills could be held up after the executive council decided to seek further clarification.