THESE are edited highlights of the questions posed by legislators and Mr Patten's answers. Mr David Li: How many points of disagreement still remain unresolved and what are they? Governor: I've set out very clearly the basis on which we were prepared to talk. After all these weeks, I was not in a position today to come to the council and announce a date for the commencement of talks. I wasn't even able to come to the council and say: early next week - if we defer gazettal today - we'll be able to announce a date for the commencement of talks. I've set out what our views are on the team that should take part in the talks and it is for the Chinese side to explain why that which has been acceptable, for example in the Joint Liaison Group which some Chinese officials were suggesting should be where we discuss these constitutional matters, is not acceptable for the talks which we've been discussing over the last few weeks. It's very difficult, I think, for me to understand and I suspect it will be very difficult for many members of the community to understand. Mr Cheung Man-kwong: When will the bills be submitted to the Legislative Council? And even if talks are reopened between the British and the Chinese side, I think the Legislative Council should not only be one of the legs of a three-legged-stool and actually it should play a much more active role than that. Governor: The administration has to gazette those proposals and that, after not having taken that action for four Fridays, we intend to do today. The next step is the introduction of legislation to this council. We'll have to consider taking that step inthe light of other developments but I want to say to the council straightaway that I still hope that it's possible to have talks about the arrangements for the 1994/95 elections. The role of this council in legislating is clear. Be aware of the fact that under section 26 of the Royal Instructions, I can't accept legislative proposals which go against treaty obligations entered into by the United Kingdom, the sovereign power. And, in relation to legislative proposals, the electoral arrangements for 1994/95, there are two very obvious treaty obligations. The first is the Joint Declaration and the second is the Convention on Civil and Political Rights. I don't think that this council would be likely to take a decision which went against those treaty obligations, but I think this council would know perfectly well what the governor would be obliged to do were it to do so. Now to state that constitutional position as clearly as I have, doesn't in my view in any way detract from the fact that this council has to legislate on the proposals which I'm gazetting today and which perhaps in due course we will be introducing. Mr Stephen Cheong: Should further attempts for talks fail, please inform this council how you and the British Government are to ensure a smooth transition promised to us in the Joint Declaration will happen if continuity of systems cannot be guaranteed? Governor: We want to see a smooth transition but we also want to see a smooth transition of sensible electoral and administrative arrangements. In order to secure a smooth transition it is absolutely right to be as accommodating and conciliatory as one possibly can be. While millions of words of abuse have been heaped on the Hongkong Government and the Hongkong Governor over the last months, I've tried to keep as mild and quiet and calm as possible. But nobody should think that being accommodating, being conciliatory, is the same as abandoning your principles. I think that this council would be surprised to discover that what is meant by a smooth transition is that the Hongkong Government and the Hongkong people should never, in discussions, have a bottom line. That's not the basis for a sensible smooth transition. Mr Edward Ho: Why can't you postpone the gazettal until it was absolutely necessary? Is it because you're worried about any criticism that may be put to you of possibly caving in to the Chinese? Governor: If I was worried about criticism, I guess that I would have pursued a rather different path over recent months. I don't think that political leadership, I don't think that leadership of a community, is about looking over your shoulder the wholetime at criticism. I think that if I attempted to govern Hongkong in accordance with the plaudits of Wen Wei Po, I'd take some pretty curious decisions.