A NEW political row is emerging over whether the talks on electoral plans for the 1994 District Board polls should be separated from the more sensitive 1995 Legislative Council elections. Governor Chris Patten dismissed the proposal made by Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen that the 1994 poll arrangements should be ''de-coupled'', saying Britain wanted the legislation in place by the end of next July. ''You wouldn't achieve anything at all by trying to separate the DB [District Board] elections and the MC [Municipal Council] elections from the Legco elections,'' he said. Mr Qian said when meeting a visiting delegation of the Liberal Party on Monday night that he had raised the proposal in New York with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, who disagreed. Lu Ping, director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said he did not see any difficulty in separating negotiations on the two polls. Only the appointment of the District Board members was related to the Legislative Council elections, while issues such as voting age, and the voting method of single-seat single-vote in geographical elections could be solved, he said. But British negotiating team leader Sir Robin McLaren argued ''the issues for the '94 and '95 [elections] are closely linked, making it hard to accept the idea of separating the two''. ''In any case, there is no reason to suppose that it would in practice be easier to solve the 1994 problems if they were taken into isolation,'' he said. Sir Robin, the British ambassador to China, added: ''So it doesn't, in fact, provide us with a useful way forward, even if the issues weren't closely interlinked.'' Senior Executive Councillor Lady Dunn said it would not be an easy job to separate them in terms of the laws required. ''You still need to have agreement between the two governments,'' she said. ''The issue isn't as simple as [saying] because one takes place before the other, therefore, let us de-link them.''