The secretary for justice has been accused of using smear tactics after he said the pan-democrats' vow to veto the government's political reform proposal was a "negative political gesture". Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung made the remarks yesterday as he poured cold water on the suggestion by University of Hong Kong pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu to organise a public poll ahead of a Legislative Council vote, which he doubted would be fully supported by all lawmakers. He expressed concern after the 27 pan-democrats last week issued a second joint pledge to quash any proposal that applied Beijing's framework on the chief executive election in 2017. The move was said to have prompted Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei to scrap a planned visit to Hong Kong next month. Yuen said on Commercial Radio that no one should "just put forward some political gestures which would have a negative impact on the rational discussion of the way forward". "If there are more negative political gestures like this to come, that won't do any good to the implementation of political reform," he said. In response, Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said nothing was more negative than the restrictions laid down by Beijing. "The central and local governments are attempting to smear pan-democrats in the battle for public support," Leong said. The lawmaker added four pan-democrats would form a team to spread a message to the public to "rival the propaganda". The move, however, was mocked by the pro-government camp. Wong Kwok-kin, of the Federation of Trade Unions, said the pan-democrats were admitting to their lack of public support by forming such a group.