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History, culture, humor on new U.K. citizenship test

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 28, 2013 at 8:56 a.m.

— What does it mean to be British? Monarchs, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python are all important parts of the nation’s heritage, according to a new guide for immigrants introduced Monday.

The government is revising the “Life in the U.K.” handbook and test taken by those seeking to become British citizens or settle here permanently.

While the previous version, created under the former Labor government, included some practical questions about daily life, the emphasis is now firmly on British history and culture. There are questions on sports, music and historical figures from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill.

The Conservative-led government says the new handbook also features “an exploration of Britons’ unique sense of humor and satire,” alongside an explanation of aspects of cultural life including the national love of gardening, the novels of Jane Austen and the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the book “focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British.” But Don Flynn, director of the Migrants’ Rights Network, likened it to a private school entry exam, “which requires complete identification with elite views of British history and culture.”

Sample questions from the U.K. citizenship test can be found here.

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