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October 22nd Briefing: Canadian elections, Brexit dealmaking, WeWork’s rescue plan and more…

By November 1, 2019 No Comments

Trudeau on course for narrow victory

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party look set to emerge from yesterday’s election with the most seats in Canada’s parliament. They will lose their majority, however. The result will see either a coalition, a minority government or new elections. The Liberals are winning in 156 seats while the Conservatives are ahead in 122. 170 seats are needed for a majority.

The result is disappointing for the Conservative party. They hoped to profit from Mr Trudeau’s bad publicity, over wearing blackface, that emerged during the campaign.

Abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland

The UK’s Parliament had passed legislation liberalising abortion in the country unless the Northern Irish Assembly stopped it. The Assembly hasn’t sat in over 1,000 days. An emergency meeting yesterday failed to halt the legislation as a speaker with cross-community support could not be elected.

The Assembly hasn’t met since Sinn Fein and the DUP fell out over corruption and the Irish language as well as over political differences. Same-sex marriage legislation for Northern Ireland will also be introduced by the British government.

Brexit deal vote stopped by Speaker

John Bercow, who is due to step down as Speaker of the House of Commons on October 31, halted the UK government’s attempt to hold a vote on the newly agreed Brexit deal with the EU. He said that MPs had a chance to express their opinion on Saturday and that it would be disorderly and repetitive to hold another vote so soon.

The extraordinary Saturday session of the House of Commons passed an amendment saying that it would not approve the deal until it was passed into law.

Pharma companies settle opioid case

One drugmaker and three distributors settled a court case with two US counties over their role in the opioid epidemic in America. They will pay $260m in total, which will be used to fund addiction resources in the two Ohio counties that brought the case. Teva Pharmaceutical, the Israeli drugmaker, will pay around $45m of the bill.

Teva is also involved in a $48bn proposal that will help settle further opioid cases. The framework has to be agreed to by plaintiffs in the States but could see them gain faster access to funds.

WeWork founder gives up voting rights

Adam Neumann, the founder of trouble office-space rental company WeWork, has indicated that he would give up his additional voting rights if a $9.5bn rescue plan from SoftBank takes place. Founders often own shares that give them multiple votes during company meetings. Mr Neumann will also be paid $200m as part of the plan and give up his role as chairman of the company.

WeWork’s value has plummeted as its scale of losses was revealed before a planned IPO, which was called off.