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Kent MP Tom Tugendhat likens hotline for reporting quarantine breakers to 'communist East Germany'

A Kent MP has slammed the government's alleged plans to introduce a hotline for reporting quarantine rule-breakers - likening it to "communist East Germany".

Tom Tugendhat, Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling, made the comments on Twitter last night in response to rumours the government plans to introduce a scheme allowing people to report those who break quarantine rules to the police.

The Times claims cabinet ministers discussed the idea for a hotline earlier this week.

But Mr Tugendhat criticised the concept, likening it to practices used in East Germany.

Officially known as the German Democratic Republic, East Germany existed as a country from 1949 to 1990, when it formed part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

Mass surveillance was practised throughout the communist state.

In his tweet, Mr Tugendhat said encouraging people to "snoop" on neighbours is "un-British".

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat. Picture: Parliament TV
Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat. Picture: Parliament TV

His tweet has attracted hundreds of comments.

Many have agreed with his stance, with one user writing: "The business of informing on your neighbours was used by communist tyrants to reinforce their terror. It's a means to quell dissent."

But others have criticised the MP's analogy and supported the idea for a hotline.

One social media user wrote: "If I have to, I’d report anyone flouting the rules because they are risking my life and those of others like me just because they think they are special and matter more.

"Obey the rules and there is no ‘East Germany’ fantasy nightmare."

Others described snooping on neighbours as "one of the most profoundly British pastimes imaginable".

"Curtain twitching neighbourhood watch types ringing the authorities on any minor infringement or infraction is literally the most British suburban stereotype," said one user.

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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