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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Referendums"

Boris Johnson Has a Trust Problem in Parliament

Westlake Legal Group 19brexit-trust-facebookJumbo Boris Johnson Has a Trust Problem in Parliament Referendums Politics and Government Letwin, Oliver (1956- ) Law and Legislation Johnson, Boris House of Commons (Great Britain) Great Britain European Union Conservative Party (Great Britain)

LONDON — For the ever-wary lawmakers who sit behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Britain’s House of Commons, one insurance policy on his rollicking leadership was not enough. So on Saturday, they took out another.

So distrustful have lawmakers become of their famously brazen prime minister — and of one another — that they voted on Saturday not to vote at all on Mr. Johnson’s much-heralded Brexit plan.

They had already passed a law to prevent the prime minister from abruptly pulling Britain out of the European Union without a deal managing future relations. But on Saturday they went further, saying that even the deal that Mr. Johnson had struck with the European Union was not a strong enough guarantee that Britain would not leave without one.

So they bought themselves a second layer of protection against such an outcome, forcing the government to ask for an extension and putting off the fateful decision on his deal until a no-deal departure was a more remote possibility.

In an era of fractious disagreements and high-stakes political gridlock in Britain, the decision to add extra insurance was more evidence of the hollowing out of confidence among lawmakers that their colleagues would abide by the courtly traditions and effete codes of conduct that once dominated the chamber.

“The arteries of Parliament are built on this sort of trust,” said Alan Wager, a research associate at The U.K. in a Changing Europe, a research institute.

“It’s founded on the good-chap theory of government, the idea that people will abide by norms and culture, and that’s where the breakdown is,” he said. “The fury and frustration in the House of Commons is because of the magnitude of the decisions and the tightness of the votes.”

Lawmakers said they had good reason to distrust Mr. Johnson.

In an effort to quash dissenting voices in Parliament and push his Brexit plan through, Mr. Johnson had already asked Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament, a move the Supreme Court deemed unlawful. And in striking a deal this past week with the European Union on the terms of Britain’s departure, he broke a major promise of his about how he would treat trade in Northern Ireland.

As a result of their misgivings, lawmakers have repeatedly tied the government’s hands, going so far as to pre-write a letter to the European Union for the prime minister because they did not trust him to follow the chamber’s edicts. A pregnant Labour lawmaker even delayed giving birth to appear for a pivotal vote in a wheelchair, suspicious that her pro-Brexit adversaries would not honor the usual system of taking medical absences into account.

The delay to Saturday’s vote on Mr. Johnson’s new Brexit agreement came in the form of an amendment put forward by Oliver Letwin, a former Conservative lawmaker exiled from the party by Mr. Johnson. Mr. Letwin supported the deal, as did some other lawmakers who voted to force a postponement.

But Mr. Letwin and other lawmakers said they worried that it was a prelude to parliamentary chicanery by Mr. Johnson or his hard-line Conservative allies that would result in a catastrophic no-deal Brexit within weeks. His amendment delays final approval of the agreement until after Parliament passes the detailed legislation to enact it.

That guarded against British lawmakers’ approving Mr. Johnson’s deal in principle on Saturday, but then holding up the detailed legislation that would follow.

Despite the earlier law seeking to avert a no-deal departure, that sequence of events would have left Parliament powerless to stop a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31.

Among the most important backers of delaying a decision were a group of lawmakers furious at Mr. Johnson over the deal. In order to avoid imposing a border on the island of Ireland, his agreement creates a regulatory and customs border of sorts between Britain and Northern Ireland.

That angered unionist lawmakers for whom close ties between those two regions are sacrosanct — all the more so because Mr. Johnson had earlier promised not to put any distance between the two.

Philip Hammond, a Conservative ex-chancellor, on Saturday compared Mr. Johnson’s deal to getting on a bus without knowing where it was going.

“Before I decide whether to jump on the prime minister’s bus,” he said, “I’d like to be just a little clearer about the destination.”

For a prime minister who thought he was on the verge of a breakthrough, the voting on Saturday amounted to a remarkable comedown. But some of the anger at the prime minister was fueled by the very tactics that his allies credit for getting him a new deal.

In the delicate last stage of trying to win approval, though, Mr. Johnson is finding that those fights have depleted a precious reserve of good will among his colleagues, analysts said.

“It rebounds on him,” Mr. Wager said. “He got the agreement because he was willing to break the rules. And now people’s knowledge of the rules is coming back to haunt him.”

He added, “The attempts to second-guess the intentions of the government and safeguard against specific actions of the government — this is a new element, and it’s because of a lack of trust.”

Not all the lawmakers who voted to disrupt Mr. Johnson’s Brexit plan on Saturday did it because of worries about procedural trickery. Some opposition lawmakers simply want to delay and ultimately reverse Brexit, and depriving Mr. Johnson of a fast, up-or-down vote helped their cause.

But even lawmakers who were considering supporting Mr. Johnson’s agreement said they worried they were being “duped,” as Mr. Hammond put it, into voting for a no-deal Brexit in disguise. They fear that after clinching approval, Mr. Johnson will run down the clock on a transition period and fail to secure a free-trade agreement with the European Union, allowing Britain to effectively leave the bloc without a deal protecting trading ties and other arrangements in December 2020.

John Baron, a Brexiteer in the hard-line European Research Group, said as much in a televised interview. He described how senior government ministers had given him “clear assurance” that Britain would effectively leave the European Union on no-deal terms at the end of 2020 if trade talks failed.

Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester, said, “The European Research Group keep saying the silent bit out loud.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Anti-Brexit Protesters Descend on London as Parliament Debates

Westlake Legal Group 19brexit-protest3-facebookJumbo Anti-Brexit Protesters Descend on London as Parliament Debates Referendums Politics and Government London (England) Johnson, Boris Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

LONDON — As lawmakers huddled inside the House of Commons on Saturday to debate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, huge crowds of protesters gathered outside the Palace of Westminster to demand that voters be given the final say on Brexit.

Organizers said they hoped to draw more than a million protesters, which would make it one of the largest demonstrations in British history, and by noon tens of thousands of people were already filling the streets.

Many of the protesters were demanding a second referendum on any Brexit deal that lawmakers approve.

“We are now reaching a crucial moment in the Brexit crisis,” the organizers of the demonstration, called the People’s Vote March, said in a statement. “The government has adopted the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ to try and browbeat an exhausted public into accepting whatever botched Brexit Boris Johnson presents to them, but we know this slogan is a lie.”

Carrying banners and waving the blue and gold-starred flag of the European Union alongside the red, white and blue of the Union Jack, they marched from the center of London, through Trafalgar Square and past the many monuments to past days of imperial power.

Even as the protesters were assembling on the streets, Mr. Johnson was making the case to Parliament that it was time for lawmakers to pass “a deal that can heal the rift in British politics” and “unite the warring instincts in our soul.”

It was the first time the House of Commons had been called into session on a Saturday in nearly four decades, when lawmakers gathered to discuss the war in the Falkland Islands.

In a referendum three years ago, British voters narrowly supported leaving the European Union, which it had joined in 1973.

Those three years have been marked by division, frustration, confusion, sadness and despair.

And growing public anger.

Out on the streets, Milou de Castellane, 52, who works as a child minder in London, said she had voted to remain in the European Union and would like the ultimate choice to be left to the people.

“There is no tangible evidence that there is any benefit to us leaving the European Union,” she said. “But there is plenty of evidence to the detriment of us leaving. We will suffer in the economy and our strength in the world community if we leave.”

She acknowledged that many had “Brexit fatigue” and that protesters might just be shouting into the wind, but she said it was still important to make her voice heard.

“I hope that the deal will not pass,” she said. “But I have a sinking feeling that it might.”

Even before Saturday, the anger over Brexit had led to some of the largest protests in British history.

The first People’s Vote March, which drew hundreds of thousands people, was held a year ago on the eve of a vote on an agreement put forth by Theresa May, who was then prime minister.

Mrs. May tried to persuade Parliament to pass her deal three times, and three times failed. Supporters of a people’s vote had hoped that the chaos would help build support for their cause.

But after her resignation, Mr. Johnson, a champion of Brexit, won the Conservative Party’s backing to take up residence at 10 Downing Street and set about pushing for a swift exit, deal or no deal.

He has steadfastly opposed the idea of another vote, saying that the people have already had their say.

Those who took to the streets on Saturday called that argument flawed.

They say that voters were misled before the referendum and that they should be given a chance to vote on a specific Brexit deal — with the benefit of being informed by years of debate and discussion — rather than the abstract notion of a withdrawal.

The protesters were joined by the former prime ministers Tony Blair, of the Labour Party, and John Major, a Conservative, who united to make a short film that was to be screened at the rally warning about the dangers Brexit posed to Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Organizers opposing Brexit have sought to build support outside London and have staged rallies around Britain, including in Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland; in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and in Cheltenham, in southern England.

On Saturday, more than 170 buses had been arranged to bring protesters from around the country into London.

In Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s left-wing opposition leader, cited those gathered outside in his rebuke of Mr. Johnson’s deal.

“The people should have the final say,” he said.

Anna Schaverien contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘They’re All Idiots’: Amid Brexit Chaos, Britons Lose Faith in Politicians

ROMFORD, England — Regardless of whether British voters chose to leave or remain in the European Union, the latest Brexit crisis in Westminster this week has united them on one front: They have lost all faith in their politicians.

“They’re all idiots. Stuck up, stupid, useless idiots,” said Liam Peters, 37, a carpenter from Barling, in southeast England, who voted to leave in the 2016 referendum. “We voted for a very simple thing: to leave. We didn’t vote for deals or endless negotiations. We just want to get out, but our politicians are useless, and they have turned one of the most important decisions in our history into a farce.”

After three years of painstaking negotiations, votes and delays to Brexit, many Leavers hoped that Boris Johnson would achieve what he said he would and wrench Britain out of the bloc, “do or die.” But since Parliament returned from summer recess last week, Mr. Johnson has failed at every turn, losing four key votes and his majority in Parliament, and facing the humiliation of his own brother’s stepping down from Parliament and his government. Ultimately, in less than one week, he lost control of Brexit — the one thing he vowed to deliver.

“Boris is just as useless as everyone else. He’s a joke,” said Tony Edwards, a 64-year-old retired truck driver from Essex in southeast England. “All the M.P.s are corrupt; they just care about collecting their paychecks. The best solution at this point is to shut down Parliament and elect new representatives because this Parliament does not represent the public. We voted out, and out means out.”

Things were not looking much better for Mr. Johnson on Friday. In one glimmer of good news, a judge did toss out a suit brought by the activist lawyer Gina Miller challenging the legality of the prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament for several weeks.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160222461_a7db061e-9832-480f-a197-e566568f5106-articleLarge ‘They’re All Idiots’: Amid Brexit Chaos, Britons Lose Faith in Politicians Referendums Politics and Government Legislatures and Parliaments Johnson, Boris Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union elections

Jo Johnson, Mr. Johnson’s brother, shown on Wednesday, resigned from his seat in Parliament and his ministerial position this week.CreditHannah Mckay/Reuters

But things were decidedly gloomier for Mr. Johnson on other fronts. The opposition parties in Parliament announced that they would not support Mr. Johnson on Monday in a second vote to authorize an early election. And that was fine with Lizzie Burton, 28, an advertising agent from London.

“No one wants another election, we’ve had one recently and it didn’t change anything,” said Ms. Burton, who voted Remain in the referendum. “What we need to solve this gridlock is a second referendum.”

And later on Friday, the House of Lords gave its approval to a bill to block a no-deal Brexit, and the measure is expected to become law after getting the pro forma approval of the queen on Monday.

Ms. Burton believes that a significant portion of the public who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 was misled by campaigners, who she says played down the economic impact of Brexit, especially if it occurred without a withdrawal agreement.

“The true reality of Brexit is now out there in the public sphere,” she said, “and I’m convinced that many people have taken stock of that reality and changed their minds.”

Demonstrators gathered outside Downing Street in London last week.CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

If that is the case, it is a late-breaking development, because over the years the polls have reflected the deep polarization of the electorate, with relatively little movement from one side to the other.

Remainers, as the aggrieved party, have tended to be more vocal in expressing their displeasure. Last weekend, tens of thousands gathered in London to protest what they decried as Mr. Johnson’s disregard for democratic norms in his single-minded pursuit of Brexit. “If you shut down Parliament, we shut down the streets!” the demonstrators chanted in unison.

But the discontent was not limited to Mr. Johnson’s opponents. Even Conservatives expressed dismay at his highhandedness, particularly the sacking of the 21 Conservative members of Parliament who voted against his Brexit strategy, when he himself was elected prime minister by only around 100,000 party members.

“This is not the Conservative Party I voted for,” Belinda Ashton, a 48-year-old housekeeping manager, said on Thursday as she flicked through a tabloid at Liverpool station in London that ran the headline, “Britain’s worst PM.”

“There is no way I would have voted for a party led by Boris Johnson,” Ms. Ashton continued. “Just the fact that he can get elected by a handful of people and then come in and sack so many M.P.s that were elected by the public, like a Middle Eastern dictator. It’s absurd.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, on Wednesday at his home in London.CreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

Even though she does not support the main opposition Labour Party or its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Ms. Ashton believes that his leadership would increase the chances of a second referendum, which she supports.

Sitting in the sunshine in the garden of an East London pub, eating a bowl of french fries and sipping on a glass of Coke, Matt Thomas, a 42-year-old insurance agent, laughed at the mention of the word Brexit.

“It’s just theatrics, it’s actually pretty entertaining,” he said. “But I’m not too worried, because what we’ve seen this week is that Parliament is still capable of doing its job by averting BoJo’s chances of delivering a calamity and driving this country off the cliff.”

For many members of the public, the events in Westminster in recent months, and particularly this last week, have been hard to follow. Some mentioned as particularly indecipherable the interminable wrangling over the so-called backstop to prevent border checks between Ireland in the European Union and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. Some people said they simply did not trust the news media to deliver accurate, unbiased information.

“There is too much information out there for your average person to understand,” said Mr. Edwards, the retired truck driver. “Backdoor, backroom, whatever they are arguing about in Ireland, I don’t get it.”

Some Brexit supporters voiced their admiration for President Trump, saying that Britain needs a leader like him, who “manages to get things done swiftly” while also “taking care of the economy.”

“I don’t trust any of our politicians,” Mr. Edwards said, before invoking the infamous leader of the Gunpowder Plot. “We need Guy Fawkes to come back and blow Parliament up.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.K. Lawmakers Batter Johnson Again, Defying Him on Brexit and Election

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson was battered again on Wednesday as lawmakers from his own party and the opposition pressed ahead to stop his plan for leaving the European Union without an agreement — and then turned down his call for an election.

By the end of another tumultuous day in Parliament, Mr. Johnson’s government had been shredded by no fewer than three defeats.

After opposition and rebel Tory lawmakers seized control of the Brexit process from Mr. Johnson on Tuesday, they doubled down on Wednesday by advancing a bill to block a withdrawal from the European Union without a deal. Then, just hours later, they rejected Mr. Johnson’s request for a snap election, at least until their no-deal Brexit measure becomes the law of the land.

Mr. Johnson’s bid for a quick election drew 298 votes in favor, falling well short of the two-thirds needed. Many analysts believe that Mr. Johnson could still get his election soon, but the latest rebuff was a stark indication that he had lost control of Parliament.

It was a sobering day for Mr. Johnson, a politician whose bombast and supreme self-confidence finally met a wall of opposition amid a fierce backlash over his decisions to suspend Parliament for five weeks and to expel 21 lawmakers who rebelled against him on Tuesday. And with the purge, he may have fractured his Conservative Party.

At the prime minister’s question session on Wednesday, former colleagues launched a barrage of barbs at Mr. Johnson. An opposition lawmaker won sustained applause when he accused the prime minister of voicing racist sentiments in an article he wrote last year.

Then members of parliament pressed ahead with a measure designed to prevent him from taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct 31 without a deal.

Mr. Johnson lost two votes on that bill as it cleared the House of Commons. It then moved to the House of Lords, where Brexit supporters sought to stall the measure with a filibuster. Members of the unelected House of Lords brought food, drinks and bedding to Westminster in preparation for a session that could run not just through Wednesday night but through Thursday, too.

Mr. Johnson insists that, while he wants an agreement with the European Union, he needs a no-deal option as a negotiating lever.

The European Commission seems to view a no-deal Brexit with trepidation, saying on Wednesday that it wanted to make available 780 million euros, about $860 million — normally used for natural disasters and the effects of globalization — to member states that would suffer financially from Britain’s abrupt departure.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160167282_2be6a9b5-b189-47dc-a44d-802f538b2cf1-articleLarge U.K. Lawmakers Batter Johnson Again, Defying Him on Brexit and Election Referendums Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Hammond, Philip Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe elections Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has said for two years that he wants an election, but is now preparing to block one.CreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

In a document updated on Wednesday, it set out additional urgent measures that it proposes to mitigate a no-deal Brexit, signaling that Brussels considers that scenario to be likely despite the political gyrations in London.

Wednesday’s events unfolded against a developing consensus among Mr. Johnson’s opponents that he may have overplayed his hand through hardball tactics, devised by his adviser Dominic Cummings, a leading strategist in the main pro-Brexit campaign during the 2016 referendum.

From suspending Parliament for five weeks to kicking out rebel Tories for voting against the government, Mr. Johnson has united disparate elements in the opposition and his own party against him.

Another product of his take-no-prisoners approach has been an erosion of trust. While Mr. Johnson needed the Labour Party’s votes to call an election, its leaders are deeply suspicious of his motives.

The prime minister has said an election would take place on Oct. 15, but opponents worry that he will invent an excuse to move the date closer to the Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the European Union — or even after that — at the very least leaving no time for legislating after the balloting.

Determined not to “walk into a trap,” as the Labour spokesman on Brexit, Keir Starmer, said on Wednesday, the party is refusing to back Mr. Johnson’s call for an election until legislation ruling out a no-deal Brexit becomes law.

Mr. Starmer said Labour would not vote for an election on a promise from Mr. Johnson “that it will be 15 October — which we don’t believe.”

For Mr. Johnson’s opponents, the question is whether to allow an election to take place in October or to delay it into November, once the current Brexit deadline has been put back beyond Oct. 31.

Many Labour lawmakers favor November, fearing that if Mr. Johnson were to win an October election with a clear majority, he could reverse any law they make this week preventing a no-deal Brexit, and pull Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without an agreement.

Other opposition politicians are willing to take that risk, including Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, who wrote on Twitter that she would support an election once the new legislation was in place.

Her support could be important if, later this week, Mr. Johnson tries to force through an October general election with legislation to set aside the requirement for a two-thirds majority. Under that maneuver, he would require only a simple majority.

The former chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, left, was among some of the Conservative Party’s most respected lawmakers to be ejected from their political home.CreditRoger Harris/UK Parliament, via Reuters

However the wrangling in Parliament comes out in the coming days, most analysts believe that an election is inevitable in the near future after years of stalemate over Brexit, and is probably the only way to break the cycle of endless and fruitless debate.

The latest crisis was precipitated by Mr. Johnson’s decision last week to suspend the sittings of Parliament in September and October, a move that prompted claims that he was subverting the conventions of Britain’s unwritten constitution. It also provoked legal challenges, and on Wednesday a judge in Scotland ruled against a challenge seeking to invalidate Mr. Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

His initial decision galvanized his critics in the Conservative Party who believed that Mr. Johnson’s intention was to unite Brexit supporters behind him ahead of an election, rather than to negotiate a new exit deal with the European Union.

The rebellion, and the purge of those Conservative members of Parliament, was the culmination of Downing Street’s unusually aggressive tactics. Some of the party’s best-known and most respected lawmakers were ejected from their political home, in some cases after decades of service.

Those disciplined include two former chancellors of the Exchequer: Philip Hammond, who left the post only a few weeks ago; and Kenneth Clarke, the longest-serving lawmaker in Parliament.

Out, too, went Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and the grandest and most colorful of the Tory grandees. His voice close to cracking, Mr. Soames announced that he would not run again in the next election after almost 37 years in Parliament.

“I am truly very sad that it should end in this way,” Mr. Soames said.

Another victim was Rory Stewart, the maverick former cabinet minister who enlivened the Conservative leadership contest that was finally won by Mr. Johnson in July.

“It came by text, and it was a pretty astonishing moment,” Mr. Stewart said of his expulsion. “Remember that only a few weeks ago I was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party against Boris Johnson and I was in the cabinet.”

“It feels a little like something that one associates with other countries: One opposes the leader, and one loses the leadership — no longer in the cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and apparently out of one’s seat, too,” Mr. Stewart told the BBC.

Michael Howard, a former party leader loyal to Mr. Johnson, defended the purge and told the BBC that in a general election, any Conservative candidate for the party should support the leadership’s hard line on Brexit, suggesting that the party is determined to scoop up voters from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“Everyone has to know with total clarity that if they vote Conservative and a Conservative government is elected, we will leave the E.U.,” Mr. Howard said.

But the immediate effect for the Conservatives has been traumatic, and has reduced the government’s working majority in Parliament to minus-43 from one.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.K. Lawmakers Defy Johnson on Election, Delivering Another Brexit Blow

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson was battered again on Wednesday as lawmakers from his own party and the opposition pressed ahead to stop his plan for leaving the European Union without an agreement — and then turned down his call for an election.

By the end of another tumultuous day in Parliament, Mr. Johnson’s government had been shredded by no fewer than three defeats.

After opposition and rebel Tory lawmakers seized control of the Brexit process from Mr. Johnson on Tuesday, they doubled down on Wednesday by advancing a bill to block a withdrawal from the European Union without a deal. Then, just hours later, they rejected Mr. Johnson’s request for a snap election, at least until their no-deal Brexit measure becomes the law of the land.

Mr. Johnson’s bid for a quick election drew 298 votes in favor, falling well short of the two-thirds needed. Many analysts believe that Mr. Johnson could still get his election soon, but the latest rebuff was a stark indication that he had lost control of Parliament.

It was a sobering day for Mr. Johnson, a politician whose bombast and supreme self-confidence finally met a wall of opposition amid a fierce backlash over his decisions to suspend Parliament for five weeks and to expel 21 lawmakers who rebelled against him on Tuesday. And with the purge, he may have fractured his Conservative Party.

At the prime minister’s question session on Wednesday, former colleagues launched a barrage of barbs at Mr. Johnson. An opposition lawmaker won sustained applause when he accused the prime minister of voicing racist sentiments in an article he wrote last year.

Then members of parliament pressed ahead with a measure designed to prevent him from taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct 31 without a deal.

Mr. Johnson lost two votes on that bill as it cleared the House of Commons. It then moved to the House of Lords, where Brexit supporters sought to stall the measure with a filibuster. Members of the unelected House of Lords brought food, drinks and bedding to Westminster in preparation for a session that could run not just through Wednesday night but through Thursday, too.

Mr. Johnson insists that, while he wants an agreement with the European Union, he needs a no-deal option as a negotiating lever.

The European Commission seems to view a no-deal Brexit with trepidation, saying on Wednesday that it wanted to make available 780 million euros, about $860 million — normally used for natural disasters and the effects of globalization — to member states that would suffer financially from Britain’s abrupt departure.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160167282_2be6a9b5-b189-47dc-a44d-802f538b2cf1-articleLarge U.K. Lawmakers Defy Johnson on Election, Delivering Another Brexit Blow Referendums Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Hammond, Philip Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe elections Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has said for two years that he wants an election, but is now preparing to block one.CreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

In a document updated on Wednesday, it set out additional urgent measures that it proposes to mitigate a no-deal Brexit, signaling that Brussels considers that scenario to be likely despite the political gyrations in London.

Wednesday’s events unfolded against a developing consensus among Mr. Johnson’s opponents that he may have overplayed his hand through hardball tactics, devised by his adviser Dominic Cummings, a leading strategist in the main pro-Brexit campaign during the 2016 referendum.

From suspending Parliament for five weeks to kicking out rebel Tories for voting against the government, Mr. Johnson has united disparate elements in the opposition and his own party against him.

Another product of his take-no-prisoners approach has been an erosion of trust. While Mr. Johnson needed the Labour Party’s votes to call an election, its leaders are deeply suspicious of his motives.

The prime minister has said an election would take place on Oct. 15, but opponents worry that he will invent an excuse to move the date closer to the Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the European Union — or even after that — at the very least leaving no time for legislating after the balloting.

Determined not to “walk into a trap,” as the Labour spokesman on Brexit, Keir Starmer, said on Wednesday, the party is refusing to back Mr. Johnson’s call for an election until legislation ruling out a no-deal Brexit becomes law.

Mr. Starmer said Labour would not vote for an election on a promise from Mr. Johnson “that it will be 15 October — which we don’t believe.”

For Mr. Johnson’s opponents, the question is whether to allow an election to take place in October or to delay it into November, once the current Brexit deadline has been put back beyond Oct. 31.

Many Labour lawmakers favor November, fearing that if Mr. Johnson were to win an October election with a clear majority, he could reverse any law they make this week preventing a no-deal Brexit, and pull Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without an agreement.

Other opposition politicians are willing to take that risk, including Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, who wrote on Twitter that she would support an election once the new legislation was in place.

Her support could be important if, later this week, Mr. Johnson tries to force through an October general election with legislation to set aside the requirement for a two-thirds majority. Under that maneuver, he would require only a simple majority.

The former chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, left, was among some of the Conservative Party’s most respected lawmakers to be ejected from their political home.CreditRoger Harris/UK Parliament, via Reuters

However the wrangling in Parliament comes out in the coming days, most analysts believe that an election is inevitable in the near future after years of stalemate over Brexit, and is probably the only way to break the cycle of endless and fruitless debate.

The latest crisis was precipitated by Mr. Johnson’s decision last week to suspend the sittings of Parliament in September and October, a move that prompted claims that he was subverting the conventions of Britain’s unwritten constitution. It also provoked legal challenges, and on Wednesday a judge in Scotland ruled against a challenge seeking to invalidate Mr. Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

His initial decision galvanized his critics in the Conservative Party who believed that Mr. Johnson’s intention was to unite Brexit supporters behind him ahead of an election, rather than to negotiate a new exit deal with the European Union.

The rebellion, and the purge of those Conservative members of Parliament, was the culmination of Downing Street’s unusually aggressive tactics. Some of the party’s best-known and most respected lawmakers were ejected from their political home, in some cases after decades of service.

Those disciplined include two former chancellors of the Exchequer: Philip Hammond, who left the post only a few weeks ago; and Kenneth Clarke, the longest-serving lawmaker in Parliament.

Out, too, went Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and the grandest and most colorful of the Tory grandees. His voice close to cracking, Mr. Soames announced that he would not run again in the next election after almost 37 years in Parliament.

“I am truly very sad that it should end in this way,” Mr. Soames said.

Another victim was Rory Stewart, the maverick former cabinet minister who enlivened the Conservative leadership contest that was finally won by Mr. Johnson in July.

“It came by text, and it was a pretty astonishing moment,” Mr. Stewart said of his expulsion. “Remember that only a few weeks ago I was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party against Boris Johnson and I was in the cabinet.”

“It feels a little like something that one associates with other countries: One opposes the leader, and one loses the leadership — no longer in the cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and apparently out of one’s seat, too,” Mr. Stewart told the BBC.

Michael Howard, a former party leader loyal to Mr. Johnson, defended the purge and told the BBC that in a general election, any Conservative candidate for the party should support the leadership’s hard line on Brexit, suggesting that the party is determined to scoop up voters from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“Everyone has to know with total clarity that if they vote Conservative and a Conservative government is elected, we will leave the E.U.,” Mr. Howard said.

But the immediate effect for the Conservatives has been traumatic, and has reduced the government’s working majority in Parliament to minus-43 from one.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.K. Lawmakers Pass Bill Blocking No-Deal Brexit, Defying Johnson

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson was battered again on Wednesday as lawmakers from his own party and the opposition pressed ahead to stop his plan for leaving the European Union without an agreement.

Having won control of the legislative agenda on Tuesday night, lawmakers moved quickly on a bill that would rule out Mr. Johnson’s plan for a withdrawal by the end of next month even if there is no deal, which many say would cause chaos. On Wednesday afternoon, by a vote of 327 to 299, they pushed the bill through a second stage in the two-step process.

The bill now goes to the House of Lords, which must give its assent.

After a night of extraordinary theater in Parliament, Mr. Johnson confronted on Wednesday a bleak scene scattered with the remnants of his Brexit policy, raising the possibility that the issue could destroy his premiership just as it had the two previous Conservative prime ministers, but more rapidly.

In the course of Tuesday evening, the prime minister lost control of Parliament, and with it his oft-made promise to carry out Brexit, “do or die.” He also possibly fractured his Conservative Party by carrying out a purge of 21 rebel Tory lawmakers who voted against the government. And he saw his plan for a swift general election being resisted by his opponents.

Even if lawmakers ultimately decide to proceed with a quick election, there are urgent questions about whether that will settle anything, given the divisions in the traditional political parties, the Conservatives and Labour, engendered by the Brexit issue.

Wednesday’s events unfolded against a developing consensus among Mr. Johnson’s opponents that he may have overplayed his hand through hardball tactics, devised by his adviser Dominic Cummings, a leading strategist in the main pro-Brexit campaign during the 2016 referendum.

From suspending Parliament for five weeks to kicking out rebel Tories for voting against the government, Mr. Johnson has united disparate elements in the opposition and his own party against him.

Another product of his take-no-prisoners approach has been an erosion of trust. While he needs the Labour Party’s votes to reach the two-thirds threshold required in Parliament to call an election, its leaders are deeply suspicious of his motives.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 03HFO-brexit-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 U.K. Lawmakers Pass Bill Blocking No-Deal Brexit, Defying Johnson Referendums Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Hammond, Philip Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe elections Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

After he lost a vote on Brexit in Parliament, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, warned that he might call a new general election.CreditCreditRoger Harris/U.K. Parliament

The prime minister has said an election would take place on Oct. 15, but they worry that he will invent an excuse to move the date closer to the Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the European Union — or even after that — at the very least leaving no time for legislating after the balloting.

Determined not to “walk into a trap,” as the Labour spokesman on Brexit, Keir Starmer, said on Wednesday, the party is refusing to back Mr. Johnson’s call for an election until legislation ruling out a no-deal Brexit becomes the law of the land.

Mr. Starmer said Labour would not vote for an election on a promise from Mr. Johnson “that it will be 15 October — which we don’t believe.”

Tory rebels who voted against the government on Tuesday were told immediately afterward that they no longer represented the party, depriving the government of a working majority and prompting a fierce backlash from internal critics, who pointed out that most of the current government ministers had broken with the party in previous Brexit votes without retribution.

For Mr. Johnson’s opponents, the question now is whether to allow an election to take place in October or to delay it into November, once the current Brexit deadline has been put back beyond Oct. 31.

Many Labour lawmakers favor November, fearing that if Mr. Johnson were to win an October election with a clear majority, he could reverse any law they make this week preventing a no-deal Brexit, and pull Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without an agreement.

Other opposition politicians are willing to take that risk, including Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, who wrote on Twitter that she would support an election once the new legislation was in place.

Her support could be important if, later this week, Mr. Johnson tries to force through an October general election by legislating to set aside the requirement for a two-thirds majority of lawmakers. Under that maneuver, he would require only a simple majority.

However the wrangling in Parliament comes out in the coming days, most analysts believe that an election is inevitable in the near future after years of stalemate over Brexit, and is probably the only way to break the cycle of endless and fruitless debate.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160167282_2be6a9b5-b189-47dc-a44d-802f538b2cf1-articleLarge U.K. Lawmakers Pass Bill Blocking No-Deal Brexit, Defying Johnson Referendums Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Hammond, Philip Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe elections Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has said for two years that he wants an election, but is now preparing to block one.CreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

There is also widespread agreement that the events of recent weeks have underscored a toxic lack of trust in Parliament, leaving British politics in an ever more bizarre state.

Mr. Johnson insisted that he did not want an election but was being forced into one and intended to seek it. Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has been saying for two years that he wants an election, but is now preparing to block one.

They clashed in Parliament on Wednesday in an exchange that gave every impression that a general election is looming. But Mr. Johnson also faced an uncomfortable attack from an opposition lawmaker who was applauded when he accused the prime minister of voicing racist sentiments in an article he wrote before last year.

On Brexit, the government has been tripping over another paradox in recent weeks. On one hand, it argues that it needs the threat of a no-deal Brexit as leverage in negotiations with the European Union, presumably because the bloc wants to avoid the economic repercussions.

But ministers like Michael Gove, who is in charge of Brexit preparations, are trying to reassure the British public, dismissing warnings of economic chaos from a cliff-edge departure as “Project Fear” and insisting that they have the situation under control.

The European Commission does seem to view a no-deal Brexit with trepidation, saying on Wednesday that it wanted to make available 780 million euros, about $860 million, normally used for natural disasters and the effects of globalization to member states that would suffer financially from Britain’s abrupt departure.

In an updated document published on Wednesday, it set out additional urgent measures that it proposes to mitigate a no-deal Brexit, signaling that Brussels considers that scenario likely despite the political gyrations in London.

The latest crisis was precipitated by Mr. Johnson’s decision last week to suspend the sittings of Parliament in September and October, a move that prompted claims that he was subverting the conventions of Britain’s unwritten constitution. It also prompted legal challenges, and on Wednesday a judge in Scotland ruled against a challenge seeking to invalidate Mr. Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

His initial decision galvanized his critics in the Conservative Party who believed that Mr. Johnson’s intention was to unite Brexit supporters behind him ahead of an election, rather than to negotiate a new exit deal with the European Union.

The former chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, left, was among some of the Conservative Party’s most respected lawmakers to be ejected from their political home.CreditRoger Harris/UK Parliament, via Reuters

The rebellion, and the purge of those Conservative members of Parliament, was the culmination of an escalation by Downing Street using unusually aggressive tactics. Some of the party’s best-known and most respected lawmakers were ejected from their political home, in some cases after decades of service.

Those disciplined include two former chancellors of the Exchequer: Philip Hammond, who held the post only a few weeks ago; and Kenneth Clarke, the longest-serving lawmaker in Parliament.

Out, too, went Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and the grandest and most colorful of the Tory grandees.

Another victim was Rory Stewart, the maverick former cabinet minister who enlivened the Conservative leadership contest that was finally won by Mr. Johnson in July.

“It came by text, and it was a pretty astonishing moment,” Mr. Stewart said of his expulsion. “Remember that only a few weeks ago I was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party against Boris Johnson and I was in the cabinet.”

“It feels a little like something that one associates with other countries: One opposes the leader, and one loses the leadership — no longer in the cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and apparently out of one’s seat, too,” he told the BBC.

Michael Howard, a former party leader loyal to Mr. Johnson, defended the purge and told the BBC that in a general election, any Conservative candidate for the party should support the leadership’s hard line on Brexit, suggesting that the party is determined to scoop up voters from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“Everyone has to know with total clarity that if they vote Conservative and a Conservative government is elected, we will leave the E.U.,” Mr. Howard said.

But the immediate effect for the Conservatives has been traumatic, and has reduced the government’s working majority in Parliament to minus-43 from one.

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U.K. Opposition Lawmakers Plan to Turn Up Heat on Boris Johnson

LONDON — Having suffered a stinging defeat in his first parliamentary vote on Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain faced more setbacks on Wednesday.

After a night of extraordinary theater in Parliament, Mr. Johnson confronted a bleak scene scattered with the remnants of his Brexit strategy and raising the possibility that the issue could destroy his premiership just as it has the two previous Conservative prime ministers, but more rapidly.

In the course of Tuesday evening, the prime minister had lost control of Parliament, and with it his oft-made promise to carry out Brexit, “do or die”; possibly fractured his Conservative Party by carrying out a purge of 21 rebel lawmakers; and saw his plan for a swift general election held up by his opponents.

Even if lawmakers ultimately decide to proceed with a quick election, there are urgent questions about whether it will settle anything, given the divisions in the traditional political parties, the Conservatives and Labour, engendered by the Brexit issue.

Wednesday’s events unfolded against a developing consensus among Mr. Johnson’s opponents that he may have overplayed his hand through hardball tactics, devised by his adviser Dominic Cummings, a leading strategist in the main pro-Brexit campaign during the 2016 referendum.

From suspending Parliament for five weeks to kicking out rebel Tories for voting against the government, Mr. Johnson has united disparate elements in the opposition and his own party against him.

Another product of his take-no-prisoners approach has been an erosion of trust. While he needs the Labour Party’s votes to reach the two-thirds threshold required in Parliament to call an election, its leaders are deeply suspicious of his motives.

The prime minister has said an election would take place on Oct. 15, but they worry that he will invent an excuse to move the date closer to the Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the European Union — or even after that — at the very least leaving no time for legislating after the balloting.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 03HFO-brexit-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 U.K. Opposition Lawmakers Plan to Turn Up Heat on Boris Johnson Referendums Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Hammond, Philip Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe elections Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

After he lost a vote on Brexit in Parliament, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, warned that he might call a new general election.CreditCreditRoger Harris/U.K. Parliament

Determined not to “walk into a trap,” as the Labour spokesman on Brexit, Keir Starmer,said on Wednesday, the party is refusing to back Mr. Johnson’s call for an election until legislation ruling out a no-deal Brexit becomes the law of the land.

Mr. Starmer said Labour would not vote for an election on a promise from Mr. Johnson “that it will be 15 October — which we don’t believe.”

Having won control of the legislative agenda on Tuesday night, lawmakers planned to press ahead with the measure to rule out a no-deal Brexit. It is expected to pass, with the backing of a hefty 21 Conservative lawmakers who rebelled against Mr. Johnson’s Brexit plans.

Those Tory rebels were told immediately afterward that they no longer represented the party, depriving the government of a working majority and prompting a fierce backlash from internal critics, who pointed out that most of the current government ministers had broken with the party in previous Brexit votes without retribution.

For Mr. Johnson’s opponents, the question now is whether to allow an election to take place in October or to delay it into November, once the current Brexit deadline has been put back beyond Oct. 31.

Many Labour lawmakers favor November, fearing that if Mr. Johnson were to win an October election with a clear majority, he could reverse any law they make this week preventing a no-deal Brexit, and pull Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without an agreement.

Other opposition politicians are willing to take that risk, including Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, who wrote on Twitter that she would support an election once the new legislation was in place.

Her support could be important if, later this week, Mr. Johnson tries to force through an October general election by legislating to set aside the requirement for a two-thirds majority of lawmakers. Under that maneuver, he would require only a simple majority.

However the wrangling in Parliament comes out in the coming days, most analysts believe that an election is inevitable in the near future after years of stalemate over Brexit, and is probably the only way to break the cycle of endless and fruitless debate.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160167282_2be6a9b5-b189-47dc-a44d-802f538b2cf1-articleLarge U.K. Opposition Lawmakers Plan to Turn Up Heat on Boris Johnson Referendums Politics and Government Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Hammond, Philip Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain European Union Europe elections Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain)

Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has said for two years that he wants an election, but is now preparing to block one.CreditHenry Nicholls/Reuters

There is also widespread agreement that the events of recent weeks have underscored a toxic lack of trust in Parliament, leaving British politics in an ever more bizarre state.

Mr. Johnson insisted that he did not want an election but was being forced into one and intended to seek it. Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has been saying for two years that he wants an election, but is now preparing to block one.

They clashed in Parliament on Wednesday in an exchange that gave every impression that a general election is looming. But Mr. Johnson also faced an uncomfortable attack from an opposition lawmaker who was applauded when he accused the prime minister of voicing racist sentiments in an article he wrote before last year.

On Brexit, the government has been tripping over another paradox in recent weeks. On one hand, it argues that it needs the threat of a no-deal Brexit as leverage in negotiations with the European Union, presumably because the bloc wants to avoid the economic repercussions.

But ministers like Michael Gove, who is in charge of Brexit preparations, are trying to reassure the British public, dismissing warnings of economic chaos from a cliff-edge departure as “Project Fear” and insisting that they have the situation under control.

The European Commission does seem to view a no-deal Brexit with trepidation, saying on Wednesday that it wanted to make available 780 million euros, about $860 million, normally used for natural disasters and the effects of globalization to member states that would suffer financially from Britain’s abrupt departure.

In an updated document published on Wednesday, it set out additional urgent measures that it proposes to mitigate a no-deal Brexit, signaling that Brussels considers that scenario likely despite the political gyrations in London.

The latest crisis was precipitated by Mr. Johnson’s decision last week to suspend the sittings of Parliament in September and October, a move that prompted claims that he was subverting the conventions of Britain’s unwritten constitution. It also prompted legal challenges, and on Wednesday a judge in Scotland ruled against a challenge seeking to invalidate Mr. Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

His initial decision galvanized his critics in the Conservative Party who believed that Mr. Johnson’s intention was to unite Brexit supporters behind him ahead of an election, rather than to negotiate a new exit deal with the European Union.

The former chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, left, was among some of the Conservative Party’s most respected lawmakers to be ejected from their political home.CreditRoger Harris/UK Parliament, via Reuters

The rebellion, and the purge of those Conservative members of Parliament, was the culmination of an escalation by Downing Street using unusually aggressive tactics. Some of the party’s best-known and most respected lawmakers were ejected from their political home, in some cases after decades of service.

Those disciplined include two former chancellors of the Exchequer: Philip Hammond, who held the post only a few weeks ago; and Kenneth Clarke, the longest-serving lawmaker in Parliament.

Out, too, went Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and the grandest and most colorful of the Tory grandees.

Another victim was Rory Stewart, the maverick former cabinet minister who enlivened the Conservative leadership contest that was finally won by Mr. Johnson in July.

“It came by text, and it was a pretty astonishing moment,” Mr. Stewart said of his expulsion from the Conservative parliamentary party. “Remember that only a few weeks ago I was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party against Boris Johnson and I was in the cabinet.”

“It feels a little like something that one associates with other countries: One opposes the leader, and one loses the leadership — no longer in the cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and apparently out of one’s seat, too,” he told the BBC.

Michael Howard, a former party leader loyal to Mr. Johnson, defended the purge and told the BBC that in a general election, any Conservative candidate for the party should support the leadership’s hard line on Brexit, suggesting that the party is determined to scoop up voters from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“Everyone has to know with total clarity that if they vote Conservative and a Conservative government is elected, we will leave the E.U.,” Mr. Howard said.

But the immediate effect for the Conservatives has been traumatic, and has reduced the government’s working majority in Parliament to minus 43 from one.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash Pledge $90 Million to Fight Driver Legislation in California

Westlake Legal Group 29gigworkers-facebookJumbo Uber, Lyft and DoorDash Pledge $90 Million to Fight Driver Legislation in California Wages and Salaries Uber Technologies Inc State Legislatures Referendums Lyft Inc Labor and Jobs Freelancing, Self-Employment and Independent Contracting Car Services and Livery Cabs

SAN FRANCISCO — A bill in California’s Legislature could soon force ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.

But Uber and Lyft, which contend that changing the legal status of their drivers poses a fundamental threat to their businesses, said Thursday that they would spend $60 million on a ballot initiative that would essentially exempt them from the proposed law. After their announcement, DoorDash, the food delivery service, said it would contribute an additional $30 million.

Drivers for Uber, Lyft and DoorDash work as independent contractors, logging in to the companies’ apps and providing rides or delivering food whenever they choose. They have no legally protected minimum wage, guaranteed sick days or traditional health benefits.

The drivers have routinely complained that the companies can cut their earnings without explanation and that they have no recourse if they are kicked off the apps.

As the bill that could give drivers employment status, Assembly Bill 5, winds its way through the Legislature, Uber and Lyft have urged a compromise that would allow drivers to remain independent contractors.

But the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat from San Diego, has said she does not foresee a deal with the companies. Sami Gallegos, a spokeswoman for Ms. Gonzalez, said voters would not support Uber and Lyft’s initiative.

“We have a long history in California of having Wall Street billionaires pumping a fortune into ballot measures to further erode the middle class,” Ms. Gallegos said.

A vote on the bill is expected before the legislative session ends in mid-September. That means time is running out for Uber and Lyft to strike a bargain.

The companies said their proposed ballot initiative would preserve drivers’ ability to set their own schedules, while Uber and Lyft would offer a concession on minimum wage standards, health benefits and collective bargaining rights.

In an email to drivers that urged them to contact their local lawmakers, Uber said it would guarantee a minimum wage of $21 per hour while a driver had a passenger or was on the way to pick one up.

The companies said they would also push for so-called sectoral bargaining, which would allow drivers across the ride-hailing industry to band together in labor negotiations.

This style of bargaining is different from the typical model in the United States, in which a union negotiates with a single employer. Sectoral bargaining recently received a boost from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who included it in his labor plan as part of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Uber and Lyft said they would each give $30 million to support their ballot initiative. They said the initiative, which has not yet been drafted, would preserve those wage concessions.

“As a Plan B, we are reluctantly funding this initiative,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said in an interview. “This is not our first-choice option. We would much rather have an historic deal that is good for drivers, good for innovation, good for labor.”

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While officials at Lyft still believe they can reach a deal with state officials, they said they were willing to take the issue directly to voters.

“We are working on a solution that provides drivers with strong protections that include an earnings guarantee, a system of worker-directed portable benefits and first-of-its kind industrywide sectoral bargaining, without jeopardizing the flexibility drivers tell us they value so much,” said Adrian Durbin, a Lyft spokesman.

If Assembly Bill 5 becomes law, Uber will continue to litigate employment claims with its drivers, Mr. West said. “Just as we have done for the last decade, we will litigate these cases,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Uber and Lyft to Spend $60 Million to Maintain California Driver Status

Westlake Legal Group 29gigworkers-facebookJumbo Uber and Lyft to Spend $60 Million to Maintain California Driver Status Wages and Salaries Uber Technologies Inc State Legislatures Referendums Lyft Inc Labor and Jobs Freelancing, Self-Employment and Independent Contracting Car Services and Livery Cabs

SAN FRANCISCO — A bill in California’s legislature could soon force ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers like employees instead of independent contractors.

But Uber and Lyft, which contend that changing the legal status of their drivers represents a fundamental threat to their businesses, said Thursday that they will spend $60 million on a ballot initiative that would essentially exempt them from the proposed law.

Drivers for Uber and Lyft work as independent contractors, logging into the companies’ apps and providing rides whenever they choose. They have no legally protected minimum wage, guaranteed sick days or traditional health benefits.

The drivers have routinely complained that the companies can cut their earnings without explanation and that they have no recourse if they are kicked off the apps.

As the bill that could give drivers employment status, Assembly Bill 5, winds its way through California’s legislature, Uber and Lyft have urged lawmakers to strike a deal with them that would allow them to continue to treat drivers as independent contractors.

But the bill’s sponsor, Lorena Gonzalez, a Democratic member of the State Assembly from San Diego, has said she does not foresee a compromise with the ride-hailing companies.

California’s current legislative session ends in mid-September, and vote on the bill is expected before the session ends. That means time is running out for Uber and Lyft to strike a bargain.

The companies said their proposed ballot initiative would preserve drivers’ ability to set their own schedules, while Uber and Lyft would offer a concession on minimum wage standards, health benefits and collective bargaining rights.

In an email to drivers that urged them to contact their local lawmakers, Uber said it would guarantee a minimum wage of $21 dollars per hour while a driver has a passenger or is on the way to pick one up.

Uber and Lyft said they will each give $30 million to support their proposition effort. The ride-hailing companies said their initiative, which has not yet been drafted, would preserve those wage concessions.

“As a Plan B, we are reluctantly funding this initiative,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said in an interview. “This is not our first choice option. We would much rather have an historic deal that is good for drivers, good for innovation, good for labor.”

[Get the Bits newsletter for the latest from Silicon Valley and the technology industry.]

While officials at Lyft still believe they can strike a deal with state officials, they said they are willing to bring the issue directly to voters.

“We are working on a solution that provides drivers with strong protections that include an earnings guarantee, a system of worker-directed portable benefits, and first-of-its kind industrywide sectoral bargaining, without jeopardizing the flexibility drivers tell us they value so much,” said Adrian Durbin, a Lyft spokesman.

If Assembly Bill 5 becomes law, Uber will continue to litigate employment claims with its drivers, Mr. West said. “Just as we have done for the last decade, we will litigate these cases,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com