A “biased” consultation into reintroducing imperial measurements launched by the government has been criticised for giving the public no option to reject the change.
Ministers launched an official survey over the summer to gauge the public appetite for moving back to the archaic measurement system – which was phased out over half a century ago.
But a survey in the consultation asked people only: “If you had a choice, would you want to purchase items: i) in imperial units ii) in imperial units alongside a metric equivalent”.
No option was provided in the survey question to reject the reintroduction of imperial measures.
The exercise is being run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which is now overseen by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.
In 2019 it was reported that Mr Rees-Mogg had issued a memo to his staff requiring them to work in imperial units.
In March this year, the government was branded “ludicrous” after The Independent reported that ministers were to launch a study of the benefits of switching to the mothballed measuring system.
But the consultation launched over the summer has been criticised by experts in survey design.
“This is missing the category that you would prefer metric only,” said Dr Pamela Campanelli, a consultant on survey methods told the BBC’s More or Less programme, which highlighted the problems.
“We’re going to get a biased answer because people have to choose something that doesn’t apply to them.
“It seems like they’re actually trying to sculpt or lead the responses towards what they want because they want people to go back to imperial.”
Imperial-only labelling fell out of business use when Britain joined 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 of measuring weights and volume of products was used more or less exclusively in Britain – though the US maintains a parallel system with similar names but different measurements.
As opposed to the metric system of weight, in which 1,000 grams are equivalent to one kilogram, the imperial system says there are 14 pounds in a stone and 16 ounces in a pound.
For liquid, there are 20 fluid ounces in a pint and 160 fluid ounces in a gallon, instead of the metric 1,000 millilitres in a litre.
While the measurements have largely been out of official use for some 60 years, they are believed by politicians to be beloved by some older voters, and so occasionally become a political issue. In reality, Britain operates a mixed system, with businesses using metric weights and measures, while imperial miles are used on roadsigns and pints used in pubs.
Officials at the business department say the purpose of the consultation is to examine how greater choice could be given to businesses and consumers.
There is no timetable for the release of the results of the consultation.