Carrie Lam defends decision to restrict attendance at Beijing officials’ luncheon

Chief Secretary says 'venue’s constraint' prevents more lawmakers from attending event

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 1:25pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 November, 2013, 2:34pm

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor defended the government’s decision to only invite seven lawmakers to attend a luncheon with two Beijing officials on Friday, saying it is impossible to include more because of the “venue’s constraint”.

Civic Party lawmakers Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Dennis Kwok are the only two pan-democrats attending the luncheon with visiting Basic Law Committee Chairman Li Fei and Vice-Chairman Zhang Rongshun.

Tong and Kwok were invited in their capacities as Legco House Committee and Legal Panel vice-chairmen, respectively – along with the Legco president and four committee chiefs.

“Because of the venue’s limitation, we cannot invite all 70 lawmakers, but we did not choose arbitrarily who, or which parties, can attend,” Lam said. “Lawmakers who cannot attend can be relieved that after we started our consultation in December, we will listen to all lawmakers and political parties.

“I hope we can forge consensus based on the Basic Law,” Lam added.

On worries that Li and Zhang’s visit could set the framework of the political reform before the consultation were launched, Lam said that the pair was only expected to explain legal points and the government would not touch on detailed proposals at the first stage of the public consultation exercise.