Liberal Party founding member Ngai Shiu-kit yesterday likened his switch to the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance to a change in the choice of tea. But alliance chairman Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen hoped the switch would increase the party's strength in next year's election. At a lunch reception hosted by the alliance, veteran legislator Mr Ngai said the fact that he had quit the Liberal Party did not mean he was at odds with it. And he dismissed speculation the aim was to keep his seat in the legislature next year. 'We are still very good friends. [Liberal Party chairman] Allen Lee Peng-fei is always my political idol. We do not have any big gap or difference in thinking. 'It is only like drinking Chinese tea. For example I, as a Chiu Chow, like to drink dark tea, while others prefer a lighter one. There is no difference between us - just a matter of taste,' Mr Ngai said. He denied the switch was part of a deal in which the alliance had agreed not to field a candidate against him in the Chinese Manufacturers' Association functional constituency. Jose Yu Sun-say, the alliance vice-chairman and also a key member of the association, had been tipped as a competitor for Mr Ngai. But Mr Yu, also at the lunch reception, was quick to deny he was eyeing the seat. 'I have never competed with Mr Ngai as long as he has stood in elections for the business sector. I will give him my full support no matter whether he belongs to the alliance or the Liberal Party,' he said. Mr Ngai is the alliance's honorary vice-chairman.