Boris Johnson bids for Jubilee boost with return of imperial measurements


Downing Street will hope it shores up support among key Brexiteer voters in battleground seats which Tories are currently in danger of losing

Boris Johnson is planning to announce that imperial measurements will be revived to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that British shops will be allowed to sell products in pounds and ounces.

Government insiders told the Mirror that ministers are making an announcement on ‘imperial measures’ this Friday to coincide with celebrations for the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.

Downing Street will hope it shores up support among key Brexiteer voters in battleground seats which Tories are currently in danger of losing.

The PM is under growing pressure in the wake of the Partygate scandal with a steady trickle of Tory MPs handing in letters to try to trigger a confidence vote.

But while the move represents a victory for ‘metric martyrs’ it is a largely symbolic one to address influenzas about EU interference in traditional English life.

Since 2000 when the EU weights and measures directive came into force traders have been legally required to use metric units for the sale by weight or measure of fresh produce.

The PM is hoping to shore up the Brexiteer voters in seats he’s in danger of losing



While it is still legal to price goods in pounds and ounces, these have to be displayed alongside the price in grams and kilograms.

Many adults under 40 will struggle with imperial measurements like a yard or an ounce, while they are familiar with metric measurements in shops.

Metric units are not expected to be scrapped but traders are likely to be free to choose which they use following a Government study into the proposal led by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

One Cabinet source said: “As the British people have been happy to use both imperial and metric measurements in their daily life it is good for the Government to reflect that now we are free to change our regulations accordingly.”

During the 2019 general election campaign, Boris Johnson pledged that he would bring back imperial units in shops.

He claimed that measuring in pounds and ounces was an “ancient liberty” as he heralded a “new era of generosity and tolerance” towards traditional measurements.

Metric Martyr Steven Thoburn, who was prosecuted for selling bananas by the pound


Press Association)

Sunderland grocer Steven Thoburn became known as a ‘metric martyr’ when he waged a three-year legal battle after being prosecuted for selling in pounds and ounces on his market stall in 2001.

The dispute, which was taken to the House of Lords, stemmed from the sale of a bunch of bananas worth 34p.

Neil Herron, a former fishmonger who worked nearby Mr Thoburn in Sunderland’s Southwick Market, and has campaigned for the Metric Martyrs for more than 20 years, said it was a “big moment” for the cause.

“The first thing we have to do is to change the law, then once the law is changed there’s a natural progression that we can push forward with a pardon,” he told the Sunday Mirror.

“It would go down really well amongst the broad British public.”

Britain currently uses a mix of both imperial and metric measurements – with speed limits in miles per hour rather than kilometres, and milk and beer bought in pints.

Only three other countries – the US, Myanmar and Liberia – use the imperial system on a daily basis.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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