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UK Government to take ‘Brexit opportunity’ to bring back imperial measures

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THE UK Government has included a promise to return to the old imperial measurement system in a newly released list of “Brexit opportunities”.

The EU required goods to be sold in standard metric measurements, using grams and kilos rather than pounds and ounces. Now that the UK has left the trading bloc, it can allow traders to return to the former system.

The move was announced as part of a list of “Brexit opportunities” released by the government on Thursday afternoon.

Other items included on the list were the return of the Crown Stamp on pint glasses, which the Tory government said would allow businesses to “embrace this important symbol on their glassware”.

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Under EU rules the “Crown Stamp”, which indicated that the pint of half pint was genuine, was replaced in favour of a CE mark, meaning European Conformity.

More practical “opportunities” listed include the dematerialisation of shares, with paper shares being phased out altogether, the digitisation of driving licences and MOT certificates, a move to allow software and artificial intelligence to be used as a medical device, and to reconsider regulations to allow the spraying of plant protection chemicals from drones.

Sam Lowe, a trade specialist at the Centre for European Reform, told the Financial Times that the list contained a mix of “things that don’t matter at all, things that might matter, and things that do matter”. The full list of 23 items can be found on the government’s website.

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The news of the return of pounds and ounces has been greeted with disdain on social media.

SNP MP Stephen Flynn quipped: “They could do wi just focusing on having food on the shelves in the first place tbh.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips added: “Literally no one has ever raised this with me as an MP. EVER! 

“They do however tell me that they cannot afford their heating, they say they can’t get their disabled kids a school place, they tell me they called the police and no one came. But sure a quarter of sweets will solve it.”

The SNP’s Ross Colquhoun tweeted: “There’s a branch of British nationalism which is basically a bunch of older white guys who wish it was still the 1970s.”

While FT’s Henry Mance joked: “YES. Can’t wait to be able to go a pub and order a pint again.”

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The National’s Gerry Hassan wrote: “Empire State Britain. Back to the glorious imperial past and regular food shortages.”

Journalist Ian Fraser wrote: “This is being pitched as a ‘Brexit benefit’? No one under the age of about 70 will have a clue what’s going on.”

The National: Labour’s Emily Thornberry

In the Commons, the shadow international trade secretary, Emily Thornberry (above), was scathing about what she sarcastically described as “the marvellous Brexit deal which is working so well at present”.

She said the country “faces continuing shortages of staff and supplies exacerbated by the Government’s Brexit deal, while businesses across the country face mounting loses in trade with Europe”.

In Northern Ireland people “remain stuck in limbo as the Government refuses to implement the Brexit deal that they negotiated,” she said.

“Into all of that along comes the new Paymaster General to talk about all the wonderful opportunities that await us because of the marvellous Brexit deal which is working so well at present.”

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