Pan-democrats have warned that the gloves are off and they will step up filibustering to derail a bid by their pro-establishment rivals to take control of key Legislative Council committees. Hostility escalated between the two sides yesterday ahead of the opening of the new legislative session next week, when lawmakers will elect new chairmen and deputy chairmen of all 18 policy panels and other Legco committees. The pro-establishment camp, which commands a majority in the legislature, offered to let the pan-democrats chair only two panels and to negotiate with them on other contests, provided they are allowed to vet their candidates. The offer was rejected as "an insult", with pan-democrats agreeing at a meeting yesterday to contest every panel and committee, and to put forward Democratic Party head Emily Lau Wai-hing for the post of chairman of the influential Finance Committee, while fellow Democrat Sin Chung-kai would run for the chairmanship of the House Committee. The pan-democrats' spokesman, Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party, admitted they could face "total defeat" as they were the minority in the legislature, but maintained they would not bow to the pro-establishment camp's "oppression and tyranny". Ho said: "We shall step up our effort to monitor the government in order to stop the pro-establishment camp from helping the government push through controversial projects." Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, also of the Labour Party, said: "The pro-establishment camp's role is to serve the government, not the people. In order to better play our watchdog role, we may have to keep raising questions during meetings until all the concerns of the public are addressed. We will not let them go easily." The pro-establishment camp has vowed to squeeze their rivals out of key posts in panels and committees as revenge for the pan-democrats' surprise seizure of the top posts in the public works and establishment subcommittees under the Finance Committee. Tam Yiu-chung of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said: "It won't be the end of the world if the pan-democrats choose not to negotiate with us. We shall send our people to contest [the chairman posts]. "They of course can resort to filibustering if they like. No one can stop them doing this. Let the public judge them."