PM: people should only call police for 'Animal House' party breaches of rule of six

17 September 2020, 06:06 | Updated: 17 September 2020, 09:03

People enjoy a night out in Leicester Square ahead of the 'rule of six' coming into effect
People enjoy a night out in Leicester Square ahead of the 'rule of six' coming into effect. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Members of the public should only report neighbours for 'huge' house parties reminiscent of scenes from the film Animal House, the Prime Minister has said.

Any social gathering of more than six people in England is against the law, with people facing fines of up to £3,200 if they do not abide by the new measure, which applies to both indoor and outdoor settings.

But Boris Johnson has urged people to speak with rulebreakers before notifying the authorities.

He said: "I have never much been in favour of sneak culture, myself.

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"What people should do in the first instance is obviously if they are concerned is raise it with their friends and neighbours.

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"But I think what is reasonable for anyone to do is if they think there is a serious threat to public health as a result of their neighbours' 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 its reasonable for the authorities to know."

His remarks are at odds with that of the Home Secretary, who said on Tuesday she would report breaches of coronavirus restrictions by neighbours and even suggested families stopping to talk in the street could be breaking the new laws.

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter has said that police officers on the front line were "trying to interpret" the rules, which came into effect on Monday.

In response to a question about having "more guidance" on Good Morning Britain, he responded: "Maybe we should have 'guidance', because we haven't had any yet."

Meanwhile, people in the North East are awaiting an announcement on Thursday on new restrictions which are expected to come into effect from midnight, while a local lockdown will begin from 6pm in south Wales.