An offer made by the pro-establishment camp to give the pro-democracy side some Legislative Council committee chair positions was a gesture of goodwill, a pro-Beijing lawmaker has said.

“Although we have the power to, we did not take all of the vice-chairmanships of [LegCo] committees and subcommittees,” pro-establishment lawmaker Martin Liao Cheung-kong said on Thursday.

Martin Liao. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Liao said he is regretful and disappointed that the pro-democracy lawmakers refused to accept the pro-establishment camp’s proposal, which would have given them seven chair positions and ten vice-chair positions in the first year of LegCo.

However, these did not include the House Committee, the Finance Committee, the Public Works Subcommittee, and other committees that are of greater importance.

“We think that this was already a great gesture of goodwill from the pro-establishment camp,” Liao said. He added that he hoped a consensus could be reached through constructive exchanges between the two camps in the following days, when votes for the positions will be held.

James To talking with Andrew Leung. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Liao’s comment was made in response to Democratic Party member James To Kun-sun, who said on Tuesday that pro-democracy lawmakers would not allow the pro-establishment camp to dish out the positions to them as if they were beggars.

To said the pro-democracy camp would compete in all committee and subcommittee elections. “If [the pro-establishment camp] is not willing to assign chairmanships and vice-chairmanships according to the 30:40 ratio [of elected members] for the next four years of LegCo, we will not back down,” said To. “How can we live up to the expectations of those who voted for us otherwise?”

Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.