Violence has sadly become all too common in the Legislative Council. Even so, the fight to chair the House Committee on Friday took it to the next level. Although the pro-establishment camp finally seized control and cleared a wealth of outstanding business following a pan-democrat walkout, the legitimacy of the proceedings may face a legal challenge. Meanwhile, streets and shopping malls were hit with wildcat protests again. The way forward is worrying. Coming after Beijing’s stern warning against the seven-month deadlock, the opposition’s defiance has raised the stakes even higher. The ugly scene not only further damaged the image of both the city and the legislature, it also called into question whether the council could resolve the problem on its own. The opposition is adamant that there is no other way out but to elect a committee chair. But the 17 meetings presided over by the Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok were clearly part of a strategy to stall the council’s business and, ultimately, hinder the passage of the controversial national anthem law. The second half of the meeting chaired by Starry Lee Wai-king, regardless of the controversy over the legitimacy of the proceedings, showed how the House Committee could and should function efficiently. Lawmakers mull reporting rivals to police after Legco row turned physical Earlier, council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen sought to break the impasse by seeking external legal advice, prompting the opposition to counter with its own external advice. While it is important that any solution be reasonable and lawful, it is ultimately a political dispute and therefore requires a political solution. Dwelling on the opposing legal advice is hardly the way forward. Friday’s clash was reminiscent of those over the extradition bill, which sparked the social unrest last year before it was withdrawn. The return of protests may prompt Beijing to step in further. Whether order and efficiency can be restored in Legco remains to be seen. But the latest confrontation does not bode well for resolution of the impasse. It would be no surprise if it bred deeper contempt and mistrust between the rival political camps. It is the public who suffers when the legislature fails to put its house in order and get back to business. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.