Press Release: Metric Martyrs Defence Fund: Immediate


Monumental victory for Metric Martyrs as the European Commission and the Government abandon enforced Metrication Programme"

...the pound, ounce, yard, foot, the mile and the pint have been saved!"


The European Commission’s Industry Commissioner Gunther Verheugen quietly announced in a meeting on 2nd May 2007 that "dual marking" of goods in imperial and metric will 'continue indefinitely'.

Following intense lobbying by the Metric Martyrs Campaign and excellent work with US business by the British Weights and Measures Association, Commissioner Verheugen agreed that imperial measurements are 'good for business.'


The Metric Martyrs submission to the European Commission’s Metrication Consultation can be seen here


We do forgive Conservative MEP Giles Chichester for attempting to claim all the credit for what has undoubtedly been a team effort. The Conservative MEP's press release is copied below at the end of this release. I hope that he will join us with his Conservative colleagues to support the request for a Royal Pardon and a public acknowledgement of the Metric Martyrs' patriotic stand.


Papers also released under the Freedom of Information Act to the Metric Martyrs by the Department for Trade and Industry also indicate that the Government and the DtI have performed a screeching u- turn (quietly behind the scenes!) and abandoned plans to abolish imperial measures after 2009. The papers also reveal how concerned they were about the consequences of losing the case back in 2001.


This result represents a monumental victory for the Metric Martyrs who have campaigned tirelessly from their Sunderland office against enforced metrication since the two Sunderland traders, Steve Thoburn and Neil Herron,  were first targeted by the authorities way back in 2000.


It is now apparent that the persecution of Steve Thoburn (and subsequently 4 other traders whose cases to the High Court were consolidated into the Thoburn appeal) was politically motivated but the resistance that their defiant stand created forced all the other local authorities to back off and they have been held at bay for 7 years.

Indeed, further information received from a European Commission insider confirms this. He states:
"In fact, the Commission were never that interested in banning dual weight marking - the UK government "gold-plated" the directive and our zealous Trading Standards offices did the rest.   But the acknowledgement of imperial measures may be linked to Monday's EU/US summit in Washinton, where both sides agreed to strive for a common transatlantic market, described as the biggest deregulation move in history.   Trade is currently worth 2.25-trillion euros a year."


It must be remembered that Steve Thoburn always dual-priced and had metric scales.


The Metric Martyrs saw their convictions upheld at the Court of Appeal when Lord Justice Laws ( who hailed from Easington Lane not far from Sunderland and whose mother and sister bought bananas by the pound from Steve) delivered a 'bizarre constitutional' verdict that established the primacy of EU law.


Tragically, Steve died in his wife’s arms of a massive heart attack only days after learning that his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights had been rejected.

He had vowed to continue to defy the ‘law’ and continued serving his customers ‘the way they wanted to be served.’


Metric Martyrs Campaign Director, and former fishmonger, Neil Herron states:


“This is a monumental victory for the Metric Martyrs and all who have supported the campaign. It has been ‘People Power’ that has forced the European Commission and the Government to abandon the enforced metrication programme.

We have saved the pint, the mile, the yard, the foot as well as pounds and ounces.

We have stood toe to toe with the Council, Government and the EU and won … and shown others that you can stop the tide of EU legislation.

Steve Thoburn was the man who drew the line in the sand.


All that remains now for the campaign is to insist on a Royal Pardon to quash the criminal conviction that Steve took with him to the grave.

He should never have been prosecuted and ALL the authorities knew that it should never have happened.

The public had never wanted or asked for imperial measures to be abolished and no political party had ever put it in their manifesto that they intended to criminalise the use of imperial measures.


The name of Steve Thoburn will be chiselled into the pages of the history books.


The day they seized his scales was the beginning of the end of the EU.”







Neil Herron

Campaign Director


Metric Martyrs Defence Fund

12 Frederick Street




Tel. 0191 565 7143 or 0191 514 4606

Mob. 07776 202045


SUPPORT THE DRIVE FOR STEVE'S ROYAL PARDON HERE                                 




The full background behind the European Commission, the Government and the DtI’s decision to surrender can be seen here


Below is MEP Giles Chichester's e-mail press release:
Release: Immediate
Date: 3rd May 2007
Issued by: Conservatives in the European Parliament
Giles Chichester MEP, tel: +32 (0) 2 28 45296
No more metric martyrs after Conservative lobbying pays off
End of EU inspired metrication after Commission agrees imperial measurements are good for business
Brussels, 3 May 2007 -- The threat to miles, yards and pints is off the agenda after Giles Chichester MEP, Conservative Industry Spokesman, got confirmation from Industry Commissioner Verheugen that "dual marking" of goods in imperial and metric will 'continue indefinitely'.
Following intense lobbying by the Conservatives, Commissioner Verheugen agreed that it was good news for British and European industry to keep imperial measurements as it would make it easier for them to sell to the United States.
Giles Chichester says: "After saving the crown on the British pint, I am happy the Conservatives have persuaded the Commission that it is good not only for international business but for the British people that traditional measurements are kept. I just hope there won't be any more need for metric martyrs and that the government will avoid forcing metrication down the public's throat."
Giles Chichester originally got a derogation from dual marking in the Units of Measurement Directive 1999. Commissioner Verheugen told the Industry, Research and Energy Committee on Wednesday 2nd May that he would bring forward a proposal to make the derogation permanent.
For further information, please contact: Giles Chichester MEP, tel: +32 (0) 2 28 45296;
Conservative Press Office: Peter Wilding - tel: + 32 (0) 2 2831138 or +32 (0) 473 861762;