A fishermen's meal at the Metropol restaurant in Admiralty saved the Government's skin yesterday morning. That was where Wong Yung-kan was when the crucial vote on amendments to the councils bill squeezed through. If he had remained in the chamber, it would almost certainly have failed. It all started to go wrong for the Government when the absence of two of their supporters was noticed at about 10am. Michael Suen, apparently realising he had run out of backers, began to lengthen his speech, hoping to postpone the vote until they had returned. 'Don't worry. I still have a lot to say,' he said, by then well into his speech. But he then began to repeat details he had given on Wednesday, triggering urgent hand signals from the Democrats and advice from Rita Fan that he was being irrelevant. Mr Suen said: 'I can't go on indefinitely . . . I think . . . I'm sorry . . . to have wasted your time . . . It's about time for me to stop.' The Democrats, angered by what they said was the DAB's 'U-turn of the century' on Wednesday, were disinclined to accept the party's claims that Mr Wong's absence was a coincidence. After all, they said, he had been sitting among colleagues in the chamber and DAB vice-chairman Ip Kwok-him had been watching from the gallery. It was not credible they had noticed his absence only moments before the vote. The only explanation was that the DAB had bowed to government pressure. Asked whether he should be held responsible for the failure to block the bill, Mr Wong, who appeared in the chamber minutes after the vote was taken, having been paged by Mr Ip, said: 'I wasn't the only one who was absent. You shouldn't lay all the blame on me.' DAB vice-chairman Gary Cheng Kai-nam said it had been a mistake that Mr Wong had left. He had been criticised at a party meeting called to discuss the issue. Mr Wong said the restaurant meeting had been fixed 'a few days ago' and had been with fishermen from Cheung Chau, Tsing Yi and Shau Kei Wan.