Amber Rudd warns Tories not to give up and let 'extremists' win as EU elections loom
Amber Rudd has warned that the Conservatives must occupy the centre ground if they are to defeat the "extremists" currently dominating British politics.
Amid a surge in support for Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party, the Cabinet minister told Tory activists that the Conservatives were now in "the fight of our lives" to push back against populists.
A spate of recent polls have suggested that the Brexit Party, which is pushing for a no-deal exit from the EU, will come out on top at the EU elections on 23 May.
But, speaking at a London event held by Conservative think tank Onward, the Work and Pensions Secretary urged her own party not to ape the new outfit.
“I want to point out to us all that I believe that we are in the fight of our lives,” she said.
Ms Rudd added: "There used to be a consensus that politics when debated would be debated on the facts, and we seem to have lost that.
"The extremism is coming up to us from the Left and from the Right and we need to make sure we fill the middle."
Ms Rudd, one of the Cabinet's most prominent 2016 Remain supporters, last month said it was "entirely possible" she could make a run for the Conservative leadership once Theresa May steps down.
Urging the Tory faithful to get out on doorsteps in the coming weeks, she said: "We have to go out and campaign for Conservative values and Conservative beliefs.
"Because if we don’t, if we leave that vacuum, the extremist parties will continue to fill it and again that has consequences."
Speaking at the same event, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox meanwhile compared the Tories' EU elections plight to that of a man about to be hanged.
"He was ushered forward to the steps of the scaffold and the entire rickety edifice wobbled and shook," the Cabinet minister said.
"He was marched forward to the noose and the noose was put about his neck and he was asked if he had any final words. After a moment’s pause he said: 'This bloody thing isn’t safe'."