Rule of Six means more than three million Brits can’t have visitors from today

The Rule of Six has banned more than three million Brits living in homes with six people or more from having visitors, statistics show.

As the government's new ban on social gatherings came into force today, the Daily Star can reveal nearly 597,000 UK homes had six or more people living in them last year.

This means at least 3.6 million people living in the households can no longer have visitors without breaking the rules.

It also suggests that many housemates won't be able to meet up outside their home if they number more than six.

Today ministers were facing mounting pressure to relax the controversial crackdown to be enforced by up to £3,200 police fines and a new army of " Covid marshals".

Furious dad-of-four Thomas Hemingford, tweeted: "My wife and I have decided that our children will not be going back to school.

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"The UK Govt has proved their inability to protect people effectively and show little acumen.

"It's not scientifically safe and there is not even a shell of a plan in the UK #RuleOfSix."

John Scotting added: "My wife an I can't decide which of our five kids to kick out on Monday, with the CV-19 'rule of 6' coming into force. It's got to be the ginger one, right?"

And writer academic Gerry Hassan said: "Jacob Rees-Mogg & his wife have six children & at least one nanny. Under the UK Govt guidelines they cannot live together. Or is there something I am missing allowing the Tory entitlement class to say this rule is only for little people? #RuleOfSix"

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Tory MPs have been pushing for an exemption for children aged under 12, as has been allowed in both Scotland and Wales with Sir Graham Brady describing the rule as "extraordinarily harsh".

The chairman of the 1922 Committee of back bench Tories was backed by Labour as he said it interfered with a "right to normal family life."

Rachel Reeves, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said: "I think the simplicity of the rule of six is useful, but I think the Government need to keep under review whether children need to be included in that or whether we can do more to enable families to come together."

Restrictions banning social gatherings of more than six people are now in effect, as Covid-19 cases keep rising.

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The "rule of six" applies both indoors and outdoors in England and Scotland, and indoors only in Wales.

England's restrictions affect everyone, but children under 11 in Wales and under 12 in Scotland are exempt.

Crime Minister Kit Malthouse said people should report neighbours they suspect of hosting a gathering of seven or more people.

The Home Offfice website says: "New laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people come into effect today (Monday 14 September) as the Government calls on the public to remain vigilant in the fight against coronavirus.

"The new 'rule of six' simplifies and strengthens the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce.

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"It means that – apart from a set of limited exemptions including work and education – any social gatherings of more than six people will be against the law.

"Police will be able to disperse any such gatherings and fine individuals involved £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200."

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Across the country, we have all made enormous sacrifices in the fight against coronavirus. However, the recent rise in cases makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop the spread of this disease.

"From Monday new laws will enable the police to fine anyone in breach of the rule of six. As we continue to fight this virus, I urge the public not participate in social gatherings of more than six people in any setting, indoors or outdoors."

The number of UK households with six people or more hit 597,000 in 2019, according to statica.com.

The Office for National Statistics has been contacted for a statement.

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