Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Hong Kong lawmaker Claudia Mo resigns from Civic Party citing ‘differences’ over localism and other issues

Journalist-turned-politician announces ‘amicable parting’ and plans to stay in legislature as independent democrat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 4:07pm

Hong Kong lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching is quitting the Civic Party, citing long-standing “differences” on issues such as localism with the party she co-founded 10 years ago.

Mo said she would continue serving the legislature as an “independent democrat” under the label “HK First” – a two-person political alliance she formed in 2013 with then fellow legislator Gary Fan Kwok-wai of the NeoDemocrats.

“I am seeking an amicable parting of the ways with the party of which I was a founding member,” she said on Monday. “My resignation stems from differences on a number of issues including localism, filibustering, and the party’s positioning.”

‘Large portion’ of Hong Kong localist lawmakers likely to keep Legco seats, former justice minister says

But Mo declined to explain the differences, stating she did not want her departure, effective immediately, to be “ugly”.

She said her resignation had nothing to do with the party’s new leadership and claimed she and other party leaders remained friends.

My resignation stems from differences on a number of issues including localism, filibustering, and the party’s positioning
Clauida Mo

The journalist-turned-politician revealed she had “thought of quitting the party for years” and believed the party’s leadership should not be surprised by her decision.

She admitted, however, that a rift began during a change in party leadership in 2010 when colleagues Joseph Cheng Yu-shek and Kenneth Chan Ka-lok both sought to be chairman.

Chan won the race amid speculation of intra-party deal-making. Mo, who supported Cheng, recalled on Monday: “The unhappy feeling in my heart started from then.”

She said she did not resign earlier because of political developments in Hong Kong, including the Occupy movement of 2014 as well as recent district council and Legislative Council elections.

Mo, 59, was elected a legislator for Kowloon West in 2012 and re-elected in September.

Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said her party was grateful for Mo’s contributions over the past 10 years.

“I won’t say the party is falling apart because of one person leaving,” Eu said, adding that Chan was elected party chairman in 2010 through a democratic process.

With Mo’s departure, the party is left with five lawmakers: Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Tanya Chan, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Jeremy Tam Man-ho.

The Civic Party was widely known as a moderate pan-democratic group until 2010 when it joined with the mor radical League of Social Democrats in a de facto referendum on universal suffrage. The parties triggered the referendum by coordinating the resignations of five lawmakers between the two parties.

Last year the party lost one of its founding members, Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who quit over its stance on the government’s controversial political reform package. He resigned from Legco.

Mo said she would not quit the legislature and that she would continue serving Hong Kong in her new affiliation as an independent democrat.