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Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ‘biased’ consultation of Imperial units leaves no option to say ‘no’

A “biased” consultation on reintroducing imperial measures launched by the government has been criticized for not giving the public an option to reject the change.

Ministers launched an official inquiry this summer to gauge whether the public would feel like going back to the archaic measurement system — which was phased out more than half a century ago.

But a survey in the consultation only asked people: “If you had the choice, would you buy items: i) in imperial units ii) in imperial units in addition to a metric equivalent?”

The survey question offered no means of rejecting the reintroduction of imperial measures.

The exercise is led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), now overseen by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.

In 2019, it was reported that Mr Rees-Mogg issued a memo to his staff demanding that they work in Imperial units.

In March of this year, the government was branded “ridiculous” after The independent reported that ministers would launch an investigation into the benefits of switching to the decommissioned metering system.

But the consultation launched over the summer has been criticized by survey design experts.

“This is missing the category that you would rather just have metrics,” Dr Pamela Campanelli, a survey methods consultant, told the BBC. More or less program that identified the problems.

“We get a biased response because people have to pick something that doesn’t apply to them.

“It seems like they’re trying to mold or direct the reactions to what they want because they want people to go back to imperial.”

Imperial labeling alone was no longer used in business when Britain entered the European common market in the early 1970s, but some people who remember the esoteric counting system remain attached to it.

Imperial’s alternative system for measuring the weight and volume of products was used more or less exclusively in the UK – although the US has a parallel system with similar names but different measurements.

Unlike the metric system of weight, in which 1,000 grams equals one kilogram, the imperial system says there are 14 pounds in a stone and 16 ounces in a pound.

For fluid, there are 20 fluid ounces in a pint and 160 fluid ounces in a gallon, instead of the metric 1,000 milliliters in a liter.

While the readings have been largely out of official use for some 60 years, they are believed by politicians to be loved by some older voters, occasionally becoming a political issue. In reality Britain has a mixed system, with companies using metric weights and measures, while imperial miles are used on road signs and pints used in pubs.

Officials from the business department say the aim of the consultation is to explore how businesses and consumers can be given more choice.

There is no timetable for publishing the results of the consultation.

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