HONGKONG Bank yesterday confirmed that chairman of the parent company HSBC Holdings, Sir William Purves, had visited Beijing last month but declined to give details. It is understood that during a trip to Beijing last month, Sir William had met with the Chinese Prime Minister, Mr Li Peng, to try to persuade the Chinese Government to resume negotiations with Britain over the electoral arrangements for the 1994/95 elections. Declining to be drawn on the specifics of Sir William's itinerary, a HSBC spokesman said: ''He did indeed go to China in February.'' He added: ''He goes to China from time to time. It was a routine business visit. We don't disclose the details of who he sees and what he talks about.'' But sources said that apart from the Chinese Premier, Sir William also met with senior officials of the State Council's Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office including the director, Mr Lu Ping. Sir William, a veteran Executive Councillor, was leading a team of senior bank officials to the Chinese capital on monetary matters, but the protracted Sino-British row over constitutional changes came up in discussions. It is understood one purpose of the trip was for Sir William to introduce Mr John Gray as chairman of the bank to Chinese officials. During his meeting with the Chinese premier, Sir William told Mr Li that Hongkong was prepared to delay the gazetting of the electoral bill to accommodate the resumption of talks. Until yesterday, China had yet to offer any official reply to the British side on the request for resuming negotiations. For a second time in a week, the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, will today face Legislative Councillors' demands for a proper explanation of the deferral of the gazette. In response to reports that China demanded Hongkong officials were excluded from taking part in the negotiations, Mr Patten yesterday said: ''No one, I repeat, can possibly want to try to cut Hongkong out of any consideration in discussions which we all accept are between sovereign powers.'' ''I wouldn't dream of giving China lectures or instructions about who could be members of China's team at talks with Britain. If I was to do that, it would be extremely impertinent,'' he said after touring the Tuen Mun district. Mr Patten said that requiring Legco's decision to be compatible with Britain's international obligations did not mean it would become a rubber stamp. The concern was raised following comments from British Minister with special responsibility for Hongkong, Mr Alastair Goodlad, who said Britain would respect Legco decisions, providing they were compatible with its international obligations.