The Liberal Party is desperate to rid itself of the tag of representative of heartless bosses in the wake of the departure of core member Michael Tien Puk-sun over differences on labour issues. At a special meeting of its general affairs group yesterday, members discussed remedies a day after Tien declared he was quitting its ranks. They decided to do some soul-searching so that all members could discuss the party's future direction. The latest split reflected the party's struggle to boost its popularity with the public without losing the support of the business sector. Tien backed a campaign to boycott Cafe de Coral over its offer to staff of a pay rise if they gave up paid meal breaks. His stance came under fierce attack from party vice-chairman Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, the lawmaker for the catering sector. The fast-food chain later reversed its decision after widespread public outrage. After the 3 1/2-hour meeting, former vice-chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said: 'We don't like being misunderstood that we represent only employers, or even worse, only heartless employers. We hope to improve our image. 'Our values are very clear. We're a centre-right political party concerned about economic development, [which] is key to employment and the livelihood of the people.' Tien's brother, former party chairman James Tien Pei-chun, gave an account of the former's growing differences with the party. He said his brother first told him about the difficulties he faced in co-operating with party leaders about six months ago. 'So I suggested that Mrs Chow and I could participate more. 'But after a series of incidents, especially the recent Cafe de Coral incident, we found we were going farther and farther apart. So I told Michael: you will be very unhappy if you continue working like this ... Our party core value is to take care of mainstream small and medium-sized enterprises and the middle class ... Think about it. 'You may be happier working as an independent in the coming two years [before the Legco election].'