Priti Patel's neighbours were split today over her vow to snitch on them for flouting the government's new draconian Covid 'Rule of Six'.
The Home Secretary wants to turn us into a nation of narks and said she would report any behaviour she believed was 'inappropriate' and risked spreading the virus.
But some residents living down her road in Bexley, South East London, said it's better to go and have a quiet word with your neighbour than curtain-twitchers phoning the council to 'grass them up' for breaking the restrictions.
Steve Elmes, 52, a university lecturer who lives a few doors down from the family home Priti shares with her lawyer husband Alex Sawyer, said: 'As Home Secretary, Priti Patel would have no choice but to inform the authorities if she caught anyone breaking the rules. I get that.
Residents living on Priti Patel's street in Bexley, South East London, have been left split over her vow to snitch on them for flouting the government's new draconian Covid 'Rule of Six'
Paul Veal, 50, a carer, said he would have a word with his neighbours but would not go to the authorities
'Part of me feels a moral obligation to do the same but I'm not about Big Brother or government or snitching on people.
'I'm not one for phoning the council or police. 'I'd probably go and speak to my neighbour in a calm and measured way if I caught them out.'
Paul Veal, 50, a carer, said he would keep an eye on his neighbours but would not go to the authorities.
He said: 'If I saw one of my neighbours with more than six of their relatives I'd probably go round and have a word with them later and explain that I didn't agree with what they're doing.
'But I come from a background where you don't grass on people so for me it would be a quiet word and I wouldn't go to the police like Priti Patel.
'While I don't agree with the new rule - how can it be right that I can't meet up with more than six family or friends yet can sit in a pub all day with a load of strangers - I kind of understand where the government is coming from, they just need to be clearer.'
Ms Patel irritated critics by insisting that two families meeting by chance in the street and stopping to chat would constitute 'mingling' and breach the law.
Speaking to Sky News this morning Ms Patel said: 'I'm rarely at home but if I saw something that I thought was inappropriate then, quite frankly, I would call the police
'It's not dobbing in neighbours, it's all about us taking personal responsibility.'
Paula Hall-Strutt, 50, who works in accounts, said she understood why the restrictions had been put in place and would probably do as the Home Secretary
Frances Owen, 66, said if one of her neighbours invited lots of people over to their home she would not hesitate to do the same as Priti Patel and contact the police or council
Faisal Aziz, 51, agreed with the Home Secretary and said he had no problem with her calling the police if he or any other neighbour had more than six people over
FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLDS
OFF: All gatherings of more than six people will be illegal, putting the traditional family Christmas at risk.
A family of five will be allowed to meet only one grandparent at a time, while families of six or more will be banned from meeting anyone.
ON: The only exemption is if a household or a support bubble is made up of more than six people.
Support bubbles allow adults who live by themselves – as well as single parents – to join up with one other household.
OFF: All social gatherings of more than six – whether a book club, dinner party or picnic – are banned.
Police will have the power to break up bigger groups in parks, pubs and private homes.
An army of 'Covid marshals' will be recruited by councils to step up enforcement, patrolling town centres, parks, shopping centres and train stations and encouraging large groups to break up.
People in groups of seven or more face spot fines of £100, doubling with each repeat offence to a maximum of £3,200.
OFF: Pubs or restaurants cannot seat more than six people at one table. Hospitality venues can still accept more than six people in total, but each group must be separate and kept a safe distance apart.
You cannot go to a pub in one group, then join another group. Venues face fines of £1,000 if they do not comply with the rules.
ON: Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples will remain open, although congregations will be required to stay at least a metre apart.