19/01/2015 12:50 GMT | Updated 19/01/2015 12:59 GMT

Letter Urges Whitehall To Tackle Radicalisation Of Young People By Extremists

Carl Court via Getty Images
ROCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage speaks during an interview in the UKIP office on November 21, 2014 in Rochester, England. UKIP now has a second elected MP at Westminster after Mark Reckless won the Rochester and Strood by-election. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

A letter warning about the radicalisation of young people by extremists in Britain has caused shockwaves in Westminster.

"We must show our young people that extremists like Ukip and Nigel Farage have nothing to offer them," says the letter, which told more than 650 politicians that they "had more work to do" to root out extremists.

"These extremists may seem very attractive to young British people right now, but we must show them that there are other ways to express disagreement. We must show them these men of hate have no place in Britain.

"There have been signs of hope – Labour is currently ahead in the opinion polls - but there is more work to do."

"Ultimately the challenges of integration and radicalisation cannot be solved by the people alone," continues the letter. "Strong leadership at Whitehall level is needed. We welcome our leaders' ideas on how to ensure that a message of peace triumphs over those, like Ukip, who seek to divide our communities."

Responding to the letter, David Cameron said today: "Anyone who reads this letter will see that what it is saying is that British right-wingers make a great contribution to our country. It's being perverted by a minority who have been radicalised."

He added: "Frankly, all of us have a responsibility to try to confront this radicalisation and make sure that we stop young people being drawn into this poisonous fanatical cult that a very small minority of people - led by Nigel Farage -have created."

Eric Pickles is yet to respond.