Governor Chris Patten yesterday attacked Tung Chee-hwa's decision not to allow consultation on the electoral methods for next year's Legco election. He said the community felt strongly about the issue and its opinion should be sought. 'That is extremely sad. I can't understand why there should be no time,' he said, referring to Mr Tung's claim that time was too short to allow consultation. 'I do hope that the community will be allowed to have a voice on these matters,' he said on his return from a trip to London. Mr Patten said the electoral proposals endorsed by the Preparatory Committee were no more than an attempt to restrict the number of seats pro-democracy parties could win. Proportionality was built into the political system with the Election Committee and functional constituencies, he said. There was no need to adopt the committee's recommendations of proportional representation or a multi-seat, single vote. Hours earlier, the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance formally merged with the Liberal Democratic Federation, but declined to reveal its views on the 1998 electoral arrangements. The new pro-Beijing coalition, which retains the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance name, becomes the third-largest party in the provisional legislature. Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, alliance chairman, said the main factor drawing the two political groups together was they both 'love the motherland and love Hong Kong'. The alliance, made up of businessmen and professionals, was seen as a political group nurtured by Xinhua (the New China News Agency) when it was formed three years ago. Maria Tam Wai-chu, the former federation chairman and now the alliance's vice-chairman, dismissed the suggestion the federation had been annexed by the alliance. 'It is an inevitable and logical trend to enhance our strength by the merger. You can imagine a five-man football team definitely will not have the same quality as a 10-man team,' she said. Out of 130 federation members, only 32 agreed with the merger, making the total number of alliance members 280. Ms Tam is trying to persuade the remaining federation members to join.