Beijing loyalists dominated the political reform debate yesterday, as the Legislative Council's constitutional affairs panel held its first meeting with the public since the release of the government's consultation paper on electoral changes last month. The paper proposes creating 10 more seats in the legislature - five of them directly elected - and expanding the Election Committee to 1,200. Pan-democrats oppose the plan. An overwhelming majority of members of the public taking part in the meeting - 70 out of 79 - expressed support for the government's proposal, with a Hong Kong adviser to Guangdong saying direct elections would return 'rubbish' candidates. Only 10 lawmakers from the 39-member panel spoke in an intense debate that lasted 51/2 hours. 'I am very much against direct elections. Taiwan, the United States and France all have direct elections. And who have they elected? All rubbish! Do we want to elect someone who only yells all day and doesn't know how to rule Hong Kong?' said Wong Ting-chung, a member of the Guangdong committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. His comment immediately drew fire in the legislative chamber, with the Democratic Party's Lee Wing-tat asking: 'Today [State Councillor] Liu Yandong has come to Hong Kong. Mr Wong, can you tell me why the Legislative Council as a whole has not met any state leaders since the handover? Are people's representatives not recognised in the system?' Lau Kong-wah, a vice-chairman of the Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and a directly elected legislator, said he also disagreed with Wong's comment. Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan, who took up the post of vice-chairman of the DAB in April, said more time was needed to gauge the community's views on the future of functional constituencies. Lee repeatedly asked him whether he thought the trade-based Legco seats should be scrapped, and Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing invited Cheung to give his views at a seminar held by pan-democrats. Remzi Wu Hing-yin, an executive committee member of Young Civics, the youth branch of the Civic Party, criticised the government's proposal for failing to lay out a road map to genuine universal suffrage. This prompted a rebuttal from DAB's Lau: 'Are you saying this proposal isn't worth a single cent?' Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung joined Lau in asking Wu to accept the proposal, 'You are so eloquent. Perhaps you should stand in the Legco election in 2012 or 2016.' Five DAB district councillors and some of its community organisers also spoke at the meeting. Party chairman Tam Yiu-chung said the party had not mobilised its members to attend it. The panel will hold two more discussions with members of the public next month.