Pro-Beijing legislators absent from June 18’s historic reform vote have fallen under pressure to resign from their Executive Council (ExCo) posts as an act of contrition.

Legislative Council members Starry Lee Wai-king, Lam Kin-fung and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee are all non-official members of the Executive Council, the chief executive’s advisory cabinet and a core policy-making body of the Hong Kong government.

Regina Ip crying tears
Regina Ip in tears. Photo: Now TV.

According to RTHK, former Secretary for Commerce and Development Frederick Ma suggested that all three submit their resignation to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who would then deny their resignation and retain them as ExCo members.

“Such an approach would be politically prudent,” Ma explained. “The act of resignation represents a form of taking responsibility, and they will have fulfilled their duties as ExCo members.”

President of the Legislative Council Jasper Tsang said on a separate occasion that he does not believe the three committed any offense warranting resignation.

During a TVB broadcast, Ip said that Leung “does not blame” her or colleagues, while adding that Lam bears the most responsibility amongst the three. Similarly, Lee has said that she believed Leung would understand the situation.

Following Sunday’s City Forum, honorary Liberal Party chairman James Tien said that it should be left to the legislators themselves whether or not they resign their posts.

Tien, an ExCo member under former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, resigned his own position in 2003 to withdraw his party’s support for the government’s controversial security bill Article 23, after half a million Hong Kongers marched against the proposed legislation on 1 July that year.

The Executive Council is comprised of both official members, drawn from the heads of all government departments, and non-official members, who are appointed by the chief executive. Its members are required by convention to publicly support official policy.

Arthur Lo is an undergraduate student currently on a gap year. During Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement protests, he worked as a fixer, translator and producer for foreign media outlets such as Al-Jazeera.