Lau says reform foes should quit

EXECUTIVE Councillors who rejected the Governor's political package should resign, independent legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said yesterday.

In a letter delivered to the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, Ms Lau expressed concern over Exco members' reluctance to state their views on the electoral reform controversy.

''Since few Exco members have expressed support for the Governor's constitutional package, the inevitable conclusion is that they oppose the reforms. One wonders what has happened to the concept of collective responsibility.

''I think that if they can't support a very fundamental government policy, in fact it is the most fundamental government policy, then I don't see why they should stay in the cabinet,'' she said.

She said Exco members must publicly defend political reform and be accountable to the public.

''Now I'm very confused. It seems people who disagree with it, publicly and privately, can serve,'' Ms Lau said.

''So what is this? Is it a political free lunch . . . where you can get access to all sorts of top government secrets and information?'' she asked.

Ms Lau refused to say which Exco members should step down but she cited the newly-appointed Exco member John Gray, as one unwilling to state his position on the reform package.

She said she saw a strong chance that Mr Patten would come empty-handed in his October 6 address. He should table his political proposals to Legco as soon as possible in case of a no-deal scenario.

This should be followed by a lively public debate. And the Government should hold a referendum to test its public acceptability, she said.

Ms Lau said she hoped the Governor would have the courage to go for a fully directly elected Legco in 1995.

She also criticised Legco members who said they wanted an agreement with China ''at any price'', saying they were short-sighted and not considering the aspirations of Hong Kong people.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, Tsang Yok-sing, said yesterday that he believed both governments were still willing to continue the negotiations on the political reform.

It was because they had fully understood that a breakdown in the talks would greatly undermine Hong Kong people's confidence, he said.

Mr Tsang emphasised that Mr Patten should tell the public in his coming policy address only what had happened since he put forward his political package last October.

But this did not mean Mr Patten should table his political package or disclose contents of the talks, he said.