Pro-democracy lawmakers have stepped up their campaign to persuade Tung Chee-hwa not to delay his annual policy speech to January, which they say sets Hong Kong apart from the international trends. The lawmakers claim the Legislative Council would be operating in a vacuum if its session started in October without having heard the government's latest policy agenda. In an unprecedented move, the chief executive decided to deliver his annual address in January starting from this year. Officials have said this would allow them to better co-ordinate policy programmes with the budget in March. In a joint letter to the chief executive, lawmakers argued that experience showed there was no justification for this break with tradition. They said the US president's State of the Union speech and other policy statements by heads of state were also tied with the opening of the legislature. 'The government's move goes against the international trend. The executive arm will be seen as being disrespectful to the legislature,'' the letter said. With the next Legco term beginning in October next year, members voiced concerns the newly elected lawmakers would operate in a vacuum until the policy speech was delivered three months later. The issue will be discussed during the Legco Committee on Rules of Procedure on Monday.