We began CAN Remain to try and encourage Laura Smith to back a Second Referendum. From her campaign ahead of the General Election on December 12th, we now believe that – in line with the Labour manifesto – she does.
In October we announced that we believed "a vote for Laura is a vote for Leave". We no longer think this is the case, and that for those who signed up to our Brexitometer, her Brexit position is now not a reason to withhold votes.
The pledge made on the first CAN Remain website which launched in April, stated that we and more than 230 other signatories would withhold our votes at a General Election unless Laura Smith changed her position on the overriding issue of Brexit. Principally, this referred to her backing a Second Referendum (or People's Vote), which Laura opposed and tried to prevent.
Disheartened at the hardening of her pro-Leave position and her continued unwillingness to engage with Remainers, we closed our Brexitometer in October, concluding, with disappointment, that "a vote for Laura is a vote for Leave".
However, now, with that General Election barely a week away, we no longer think this statement is true.
Whilst we had hoped for an emphatic public statement from her regarding Labour's Brexit policy as expressed in its manifesto, we now believe – based on emails, recent hustings and other sources – that Laura backs a Second Referendum in line with that policy.
This means that Laura has ultimately changed her position. As such, the terms of the pledge are no longer a reason to withhold votes. Now, we think think it is reasonable to presume that a vote for Laura is a vote for a Second Referendum.
We don't claim to speak for all the supporters of our campaign. Each will arrive at their own verdict on Laura's sincerity and reliability. They will consider the support shown to Remainers by Matthew Theobald and Te Ata Browne, take on board the recommendations of tactical voting websites, and think about a whole range of other issues.
But more than anything else, Brexit threatens to inflict hurt and harm upon Crewe & Nantwich, at the behest of those elected to protect us. We don't know what will happen in the election, either locally or nationally, nor what will follow.
But we shall always believe that we are better served by remaining in the EU, both for the advantages it offers, and for the positive values it represents.
Goodwill to everyone who has sailed with us.