Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BAN ON A POUND OF BANANAS; Metric Martyrs Lose as Judges Say Euro Law 'Ranks Supreme'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BAN ON A POUND OF BANANAS; Metric Martyrs Lose as Judges Say Euro Law 'Ranks Supreme'

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK MCGOWAN

FIVE market traders today lost their fight for the right to sell their goods in pounds and ounces in an important test of Europe's legal powers over Britain.

The "metric martyrs" - including two London street traders - must also pay costs of about [pound]100,000.

The case started as a row over the sale of a bunch of bananas worth 34p but escalated into the first legal clash over laws made by Parliament and Europe since Britain joined the European Community.

Lord Justice Laws sitting with Mr Justice Crane dismissed the case in the High Court. Lord Justice Laws ruled that "the specific rights and obligations which European law creates are incorporated in our domestic law and rank supreme".

He said: "Our imperial measures, much loved of many, seem to face extinction." But he refused the traders permission to take the case to the House of Lords.

The five had claimed that a loophole in English law exempted them from a European Union directive requiring goods to be sold in metric units. The traders, whose supporters include actor Edward Fox and comedian John Cleese, brought their case last November. They claimed it raised vital questions of constitutional law.

Among them is Colin Hunt, a greengrocer from Woodford Green who has a market stall in Dalston, and Peter Collins who has a stall in Sutton. Mr Collins had his trading licence revoked for using imperial scales. The others are Sunderland greengrocer Steve Thoburn and Julian Harman and John Dove of Camelford, Cornwall.

Outside the court, surrounded by supporters, Mr Harman said: "This ruling shows that the country isn't running itself.

It is being run by Europe." Mr Thoburn said: "I feel gutted. I have never been anti-metric. I have only been doing what my customers wanted me to do."

In an apparent hint that he might still be prepared to sell by imperial measures he said: "I will keep on doing what the customers want. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.