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British citizenship test taps culture

LONDON — The British government has revised its guide for immigrants and for the test taken by those seeking to become British citizens.

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.

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The Conservative-led government said Monday that the new handbook also includes ‘‘an exploration of Britons’ unique sense of humor and satire,’’ and an explanation of aspects of cultural life, including the national love of gardening, the novels of Jane Austen, the Monty Python comedy troupe, and the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, 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.’’

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