Lord Rose has said he was ‘shocked’ by the proposals to return to imperial weights (Picture: Getty)

Plans to return imperial measurements to shops across Britain have been branded ‘complete and utter nonsense’ by Asda boss Lord Rose.

The chairman of the supermarket giant described being ‘shocked’ at the proposals, which he said would only please a ‘small minority’.

A 12-week government consultation has been launched today as part of a post-Brexit pledge to give traders more freedom.

Read more: What are imperial measurements and why did we replace them with metric?

Traders were ordered to use metric units when selling packaged or loose goods, such as fruit and vegetables, under the European weights and measures directive in 2000.  

They were still allowed to price goods in pounds and ounces – but displayed alongside the cost in grams and kilos.

Now plans to review ‘overbearing EU rules’ will restore ‘common sense’ to the statute book, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) believes.  

Boris Johnson is thought to have timed the announcement to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

A fruit and veg stall at Beaconsfield Market in Buckinghamshire (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

But Lord Rose, a Conservative peer, said it amounted to going ‘backwards’.

He told Times Radio: I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life.

‘I mean, we have got serious problems in the world and we’re now saying let’s go backwards. Does anybody in this country below the age of about 40 know how many ounces there are in a pound?

‘Are we going to go down to the supermarket and say, ‘I’ll have a pound-and-a-half please, or one pound, four ounces of this or that’?

‘We’re doing it just to actually please a small minority of people who hark for the past. It’s complete and utter nonsense and it will add cost to those people who have to put it into place.’

A 12-week consultation has been announced today on plans to return to imperial weights (Picture: Getty Images)

And the move has also been dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by Tory MP Alicia Kearns – one of at least 20 backbenchers to declare they have lost confidence in the PM.

Ms Kearns tweeted how ‘not one constituent, ever, has asked for this.

‘This isn’t a Brexit freedom. It’s a nonsense,’ she added.

A variety of stakeholders have been asked to contribute to the consultation, including businesses, trade associations, enforcement bodies and consumer organisations.

The BEIS said the move will give traders more choice – but insisted no further costs would be inflicted.

Business minister Paul Scully said: ‘While we think of our fruit and veg by the pound, the legacy of EU rules means we legally have to sell them by the kilo.

‘Our consultation today will help shops to serve customers in the way their customers want.’

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