UNITED Democrats chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming yesterday warned that if Governor Chris Patten back-pedalled on the democratisation plan for Hongkong, he would make himself ''a laughing stock''. Mr Lee was speaking only hours before Mr Patten left for London for a summit meeting with Prime Minister John Major to reassess Britain's position on the ongoing talks over the 1994/95 electoral arrangements. ''The Governor has made a promise to us [on the reform plan] and if he back-pedals now, he will make himself a laughing stock and pose a grave challenge to his own governing authority,'' the leader of the liberal flagship said. ''At this rate [of the negotiations], I don't think we will be able to read the bill by the end of this session, or even before October,'' he said. The United Democrats called on the Government to introduce the bill to the Legislative Council right after the summit meeting which is to be attended by senior cabinet members. But they sidestepped a question on whether their request conflicted with local opinion polls which showed Hongkong people wanted the talks to continue. Instead, they reiterated that the introduction of the bill would not create an obstacle for the talks. ''Hongkong people want both democracy and the talks to continue, and the two things together means they want to get a democratic system through the talks,'' Mr Lee said. His deputy in the party, Yeung Sum, reiterated that it was best to let legislators discuss the bill simultaneously while the talks were in progress. Another party vice-chairman, Albert Ho Chun-yan, also warned of Britain betraying local interests in the constitutional talks. The United Democrats also said they would rather have a more democratic political system than securing a few seats after 1997 under the so-called ''through-train'' arrangements. This was despite Mr Patten's comment that a political through-train made good sense on the transfer of sovereignty. Mr Lee said they would not desert their ideals in exchange for a few places in the post-1997 Legislative Council. They would reflect their feelings to both the Chinese and the British Governments, and did not rule out the possibility of arranging meetings with both sides to put forward their views. ''To secure one or two people on board the through-train is not the type of democracy we have in mind. We do not harbour this kind of selfish objective. ''The list of passengers could be compromised, but not the system. We cannot accept a few seats as a trade-off for a democratic system,'' he said.