The Prime Minister laid out the latest part of his vision for a post-Brexit UK just a week before Britons cast their votes in an election which is expected to see him win back the Tory majority lost by Theresa May. As well as charging ahead in the polls, Mr Johnson was called the winner of last night’s TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn, as 52 percent of voters in a snap YouGov poll for Sky News said he had performed the strongest. And the latest of his election pledges – to bring back the imperial measurement system – could win him extra votes, particularly from the older generation.
Mr Johnson told the Daily Mail: “We will bring back that ancient liberty. I see no reason why people should be prosecuted.”
He added: “I think the reality is a lot of people are now educated in the metric system, we have to recognise that.
“But people… I understand what a pound of apples is. I also understand what a kilo of apples is.”
British manufacturers were free to sell goods labelled in the imperial or metric systems in the past.
But that all changed in January 2000 when the EU made it illegal to sell products in non-metric weights and measurements.
Critics slammed the “ridiculousness” of the new system and traders across the UK voiced their opposition.
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When labelling goods, manufacturers have to display their weight in metric measurements – kilograms, grams, litre, millilitres.
Under the current system only certain foods and products can be sold using imperial measures.
These include beer, cider, milk, and precious metals.
The EU does not ban the use of imperial measurements on products, but states that if they are used they must not “stand out more than the metric measurement”.
In 2017 business secretary Andrea Leadsom, who at the time was minister for environment, food and rural affairs, spoke about the idea of reverting back to the old rules.
Ms Leadsom said: “Once we have left the EU, we will get the opportunity to look at how we can change rules that will be better for the United Kingdom and whether that’s on weights and measures or issues like teaspoons, those are things for the future.”