A leading Beijing-friendly politician has been elected as chairman of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee. Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, beat the incumbent, Emily Lau Wai-hing, by 31 votes to 22. While congratulating Mr Tam on his victory, Ms Lau said she accepted the decision and would do her best to co-operate with Mr Tam to ensure the smooth operation of the finance committee. Ms Lau, who received the backing of only 22 pan-democratic lawmakers present at yesterday's meeting, was automatically returned as vice-chairwoman because of the lack of competition for the post. However, she said the central government had 'once again' interfered with Hong Kong's internal affairs by pressuring lawmakers to vote for Mr Tam. The wresting of control of the Finance Committee from Ms Lau is seen as an attempt to ensure the smoother passage of government applications for project funding. The authority to withhold funding is one of the few real powers the legislature has. Ms Lau beat DAB challenger Chan Kam-lam in the chairmanship election last year after receiving four votes more than the number of pan-democrats present. In a brief debate between the candidates before the vote, Ms Lau said she had been informed by more than one lawmaker that the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong had pressured lawmakers to vote her out. 'I've even heard the suggestion that lawmakers allowed their neighbours to see whom they voted for,' she said. Mr Tam said the decision to run for the post was made because his party felt that as the new chairman, he should take higher-profile positions in the Legco committees. Democratic Party legislator Martin Lee Chu-ming suggested a way to ensure a secret ballot, which was backed by the 22 pan-democrats, but 27 other lawmakers voted against it. 'I didn't think it was necessary,' said Mr Tam, referring to Mr Lee's suggestion, while denying the suggestion that Beijing loyalists had to virtually declare for whom they had voted. 'You can see that the voting process was transparent, under the scrutiny of the media. 'You can't just make accusations with no evidence ... making a scene all the time, saying the central government has intervened. Nothing good will come from this behaviour.'