Liberal Party member David Lie Tai-chong said yesterday he would 'fight until the end' to oppose any effort to let former chairman James Tien Pei-chun keep an official position in the party, which he said should reposition itself following its recent electoral defeat. While acknowledging his role as a 'messenger' between the party and the central government, Mr Lie denied his high-profile call for reform was a plan masterminded by Beijing to take over the Liberal Party. 'Beijing has never told me to say anything,' said Mr Lie, who is known to be close to the central government. 'I only spoke out when I start realising it was wrong to keep James Tien pulling strings behind the scene, which would affect the credibility of both the party and Mr Tien himself. 'I have achieved my target since Tien is now unlikely to remain. But if he is made honorary chairman, I will go all out and fight until the end against it.' His remarks came after a three-day row following media reports of his meeting with party members on Sunday, during which he opposed a plan to install Mr Tien as honorary chairman - despite Mr Tien's earlier resignation from the chairmanship after the party's election defeat. All the party's candidates were defeated in geographical seats, including Mr Tien and vice-chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee. Rural leader Lau Wong-fat resigned from the party after the election, leaving the Liberals with only six legislators - all returned in functional constituencies. Mr Lie said the public did not identify with the party's hostile stance towards policies like a minimum wage. Therefore over the next decade the Liberals should instead concentrate on getting a stronger business sector mandate by consolidating their influence in the functional constituencies. He said he would consider suggestions by supporters who encouraged him to take a frontline political role, for example by becoming a functional constituency legislator. 'I am not the central government,' Mr Lie said. 'I am only a messenger trying to improve communications between the party and Beijing. I just want to make sure nothing goes wrong in the party.' The row between Mr Lie and Mr Tien has already hurt the party. Some rank-and-file members and district councillors have threatened to quit if the leadership does not reaffirm its long-standing pledge to contest direct elections. Meanwhile, after meeting the chief executive yesterday, Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said she had urged Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to clarify whether his office, along with the Central Liaison Office, had told the business community to urge the Liberal Party against standing in direct elections in the future, and to consolidate its strength in the functional constituencies - as suggested by some media reports. However, Mr Tsang did not deny those reports. 'It's anybody's guess as to whether that means he thinks it's inappropriate, or whether in fact it's the truth - people can draw their own conclusions,' she said. A spokesman for the Chief Executive's Office said: 'We do not comment on speculative reports'. Ms Eu said the whole Liberal Party saga - along with suspicions of collusion arising out of former housing chief Leung Chin-man's job with a property developer and the pay scale of political appointees - had shown how the functional constituencies were a 'poisonous tumour' in the political system, where decisions were made behind closed doors. 'Really, the chief executive ought to come out and clarify that that is not the government's position, and that functional constituencies have absolutely no place in [a system of] universal suffrage,' she said.