Lee Wing-tat blames Beijing for sabotaging his race for chief executive Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat suffered a severe blow in his campaign for chief executive yesterday when the strong support he had been counting on from the social welfare sector failed to materialise. Mr Lee accused Beijing of exerting pressure. The 36 Election Committee members in the sector originally said they would use their votes as a block after polling social workers on their views. But now only 14 members say they will follow the result of the poll, which begins today. Lam Keung, spokesman of the sector's committee members, denied it was a U-turn after reports that some of his colleagues had been warned off by mainland officials and pro-Beijing figures. 'Until now we have not heard anyone saying they made the decision because of political pressure. Getting contacted [by mainland figures] doesn't mean they had been pressurised,' he said. But he admitted that they had strayed from their original intention. 'Some members have changed their minds after considering factors such as how scientific the poll will be,' Mr Lam said. The 14 social workers who have pledged to nominate a candidate in line with the poll's result include Mr Lam and other pro-democracy figures, such as Democrat Tik Chi-yuen and Chua Hoi-wai. Six other members said they would take the poll's result as a reference, while the rest said they would make their own decision on how to vote. Mr Lee - who had originally counted on the sector as a firm base of support in his battle to secure the 100 nominations he needs to run for election on July 10 - said he was not worried and vowed to continue lobbying other sectors. 'It just shows the public how powerful Beijing is. It can even change the minds of the social workers who have always been pro-democracy and open,' Mr Lee said. It is understood that pro-Beijing figures at district levels have approached some Election Committee members from the social welfare sector, asking them their views on the chief executive election. Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political analyst at Chinese University, said the chance of Mr Lee getting 100 nominations was close to zero without the full support of the social welfare sector. 'As the political pressures become heavier, more people from other sectors will reconsider as they fear political revenge,' Mr Choy said. Meanwhile, Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing warned certain members of the pro-democracy camp against 'sowing discord' over Mr Lee's bid. She made the comments when asked about legislator Albert Cheng King-hon's high-profile attack on Mr Lee in recent weeks.