Home Secretary Tells Britons to Inform on Neighbours Having ‘Raves’ and ‘House Parties’

Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in central London on September 22, 2020 to attend the weekly meeting of the cabinet. - The UK government will on Tuesday announce new measures to curb rising coronavirus cases across England, hours after upgrading the virus …
LEON NEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that Britons should inform on their neighbours if they see them breaking coronavirus rules by having “raves” or “house parties”.

While most of the country is under the top tier for regional coronavirus restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has relaxed the rules for five days over Christmas. However, some constraints apply, including that no more than three households may mix.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Thursday, Home Secretary Patel said that “any individual that saw any laws being broken would take that upon themselves” and call the police.

Patel added, according to The Telegraph, that she would do the same, saying: “If I saw somebody flouting coronavirus regulations and the laws, of course I would look to inform the police about that.

“The public are part of this… we do see the public and the police working together.”

The Home Secretary sparked criticism in September when she made similar remarks, saying she would call the police on her neighbours if they were breaking lockdown. Brexit leader Nigel Farage said of the comments: “Have we become like East Germany where children were encouraged to report on their parents?”

The senior minister elaborated on the conditions under which Britons should betray their community to the authorities, telling Sky News on Thursday that police should only be involved if there were “egregious breaches” of the rules, such as “the raves, the house parties, anything basically that is in breach of the rules that would effectively lead to the spread of the virus”.

Asked on LBC if she would advise calling the police if one extra person attended a private Christmas gathering, she responded: “No, I’m not going to go there Nick… I think [the public] have exercised great judgment throughout the year when it comes to following the regulations.”

Earlier calls by the home secretary and others, including Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, to call the police on neighbours breaking coronavirus laws appeared to have the desired effect, with a report later claiming that some forces were so inundated with calls they had to bring on extra staff to manage the telephones.

Backtracking on the hardline comments by his ministers, Prime Minister Johnson clarified later that he was not in favour of “sneak culture” and authorities should only be engaged “if they think there is a serious threat to public health as a result of their neighbour’s activities — if there is some huge kind of Animal House party taking place, as I am sure, hot tubs and so forth, and there is a serious threat to public health then it’s reasonable for the authorities to know”.

Ms Patel, who said she would be having a small Christmas this year, was clear that she would not tolerate lockdown hypocrisy in Parliament, criticising lockdown enthusiast Tobias Ellwood MP for attending a party that broke government rules.

The Commons Defence Select Committee chairman had attended what he said was a “business meeting” at the Cavalry and Guards Club in London, which was reportedly initially described as a “Christmas party”. While gatherings for business purposes is permitted, get togethers of multiple households in Tier 2 — as London was at the time — is not.

Addressing the report, Ms Patel told ITV on Thursday that it was an “egregious” breach of the rules.

“Having dinner… outside of the rules with a large number of people is a breach of the regulations,” she said.

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