The Legco eight-party coalition has failed to agree on arrangements for political appointees to resign in the event of a no-confidence vote by legislators. But the alliance denied it was collapsing, despite no further meeting having been arranged. Members met for the first time yesterday since details of the ministerial system were unveiled last Wednesday. They agreed on some broad principles but could not establish concrete proposals to put to the Government. Legislators unanimously agreed that the executive arm be held accountable to the legislature when implementing the new structure. Political appointees should also be bound by stringent integrity checks. The coalition would try to cope with the Government target of launching the scheme on July 1, but stressed they would not rush to squeeze it through. The Government has said the implementation cost of $42 million will be made by savings through restructuring. But legislators said if this meant job cuts, the Government should not just axe junior posts. Coalition convenor James Tien Pei-chun admitted that members had not reached a consensus on establishing a so-called constitutional convention whereby appointees would be removed by a no-confidence vote. Mr Tien said some parties believed such a convention should be backed by legislation, while others said such decisions should be made by the Chief Executive. He would not be drawn on whether officials were trying to split the united front. Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier admitted some pro-democracy parties were opposed to the reform in principle, but they would remain co-operative in the hope of improving the package. Meanwhile, lawmakers at the first subcommittee meeting to scrutinise the reform package rejected the Government's request to have a separate series of meetings on legal issues. The decision came despite fears expressed by the constitutional affairs chief, Michael Suen Ming-yeung, that complex questions like whether the system conformed to the Basic Law might delay discussions on other arrangements. Members instead hammered out a detailed framework involving dozens of questions in 11 areas, with a view to finishing the scrutiny by meeting twice a week. Public hearings will be held on two Saturdays next month. Mr Suen said the Government still aimed to finish the scrutiny in one month, followed by a motion debate on May 29.