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‘Flawed’ citizenship test more like a bad pub quiz – US-born Durham academic

THE UK’S new citizenship test is flawed and more like a bad pub quiz, an American-born North-East academic has claimed.

Durham University law expert Thom Brooks said the test focused too much on British history at the expense of practical knowledge and is not fit for purpose.

Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Dr Brooks moved to the UK in 2011, passed the test in 2009 and became a British citizen in 2011.

But he said: “Many citizens that were born and bred in the UK would struggle to know the answers to many of these questions.

“Britain will not be more cohesive because more have heard about the Battle of Trafalgar, but rather if citizens understand better how to participate in daily British life and make a contribution.”

The test, which the Government last overhauled in 2011, is taken by 150,000 would-be citizens every year.

But Dr Brooks called it trivial, lacking details such as how to call an ambulance, report a crime or register with a GP and offering no information about GCSEs or A-Levels.

There is also a bias against women, he said, with new citizens asked the birth and death dates for nearly 30 men in British history, but only four women.

Dr Brooks’ report, The Life in the United Kingdom Citizenship Test: Is It Unfit for Purpose?, was launched tonight (Thursday, June 13).

It was welcomed by the Reverend Lord Roberts of Llandudno, vice-chair of the all party parliamentary group on migration, who said the test had major flaws and the Government must “wake up” to this.

A Home Office spokesman said the Government had stripped out mundane information about water meters, train timetables and using the internet, so it rightly focused on values and principles at the heart of being British.

A Conservative Party spokesman said Dr Brooks was an active member of the Labour Party, so it was no surprise he preferred Labour’s flawed old test which told people how to claim benefits rather than encourage participation in British life.