Telegraph (London), July 1, 2012
Immigrants wanting to live in the UK will have to learn the first verse of the National Anthem as part of new citizenship tests.
They will also be tested on their knowledge of key historical facts and characters, including the Beatles, William Shakespeare and Florence Nightingale.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, plans to rewrite Labour’s Life in the UK handbook to replace sections on how to claim benefits and the merits of the Human Rights Act with questions about British inventions and discoveries, including television, radar, DNA and the internet, as well as cultural landmarks such as the publication of the King James Bible.
The new guide is expected to describe Britain as a “fantastic place to live; a modern thriving society with a long and illustrious history.”
It will also include questions on topics such as Winston Churchill, the Magna Carta and the English Civil War, as well as sections on the artists Gainsborough, Turner and Constable as well as writers such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
Poetry and historical battles, including Trafalgar, will also be mentioned.
For the first time, immigrants will be told: “historically, the UK is a Christian country”.
The current 45-minute Citizenship Test was introduced by Labour in 2005 to ensure migrants who wanted to become Britons had sufficient knowledge of the country they were settling in.
It includes questions about customs and practicalities in Britain, the legal system and the role of the monarch, parliament and the government.
But it faced criticism from the outset because despite candidates being asked to read a chapter on the country’s history they were told they would not be tested on it.
Instead they were quizzed on topics such as the make-up of the European Union, how to claim benefits and even how to buy a round in a pub.
Last year, however, in a speech on immigration, David Cameron pledged to improve the test.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Putting our culture and history at the heart of the citizenship test will help ensure those permanently settling can understand British life, allowing them to properly integrate into our society.”