Lawmaker James To who presided over an acrimonious bill committee meeting on extradition amendments on Wednesday said that he conducted the meeting not as a Democratic Party member or pan-democrat, but strictly according to the rules of the Legislative Council.
To said he was just being cautious about Legco procedures and his power because he was worried it could evoke legal challenges and end up in what he saw as "a collapse of the whole Legislative Council procedures".
The vetting panel meeting ended without even electing a chairman as pro-government and opposition lawmakers argued over procedures and conduct. After the meeting, New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip blasted To, saying that he didn't play by the rules.
"He didn't discharge his duties to implement the agenda of today's meeting. Agenda number one is to elect a chairman and a vice-chairman of the bills committee. He wasted two hours of our time," Ip said.
DAB chairwoman Starry Lee said To himself was delaying the process and accused him of misusing his powers as presiding chairman of the panel.
But To rejected such accusations. He said he didn't discuss anything with his pan-democratic colleagues before the meeting.
"I regard this as a very serious, heavy job and duty constitutionally, as a chairman or presiding member to conduct a Legco meeting," he said.
"Once I was selected, or according to the rules arranged for such a post, I have no choice but to do it properly and according to the rules," To said.
The legislator also said that he will arrange the next meeting for the bills committee "within a reasonable time".
The convenor of the pan-democratic camp, Claudia Mo, meanwhile defended her call for a debate on how the committee's time overlapped with a public works subcommittee meeting.
She said it's important to clarify this because she was worried that this would create a precedent.
Meeting held according to the rules, says James To
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