Can your MP pass the British citizenship test?

2009 August 12
by Henry

MPs and the Commons Speaker stand at the bar of the Lords Chamber

There’s been lots of discussion on blogs and Twitter this week about the citizenship test. Many British born citizens have reported how they’ve failed the test and questioned the test’s usefulness. After all, if this is a test about British life then surely anyone born in the UK should instinctively be able to pass with flying colours.

Some people have suggested that MPs probably wouldn’t be able to pass the test. Here is what happened when journalist Daniel Adam quizzed Mike Gapes (Labour MP for Ilford South) on his knowledge:

The conditions were not exactly the same as those stipulated by the Home Office. In my home-made test, Gapes was required to answer only 10 questions instead of 20. These were read out to him, and he could take as long as he wanted to give his answer. But it was all over in five minutes. At the end of it, with a great big smile on his face, Gapes said ‘I have failed, haven’t I?’ His instincts (if not his answers) were right.

With only half the questions answered correctly, Mike Gapes MP, the honourable member for Redbridge, had failed the test. If his score-rate remained as low as that in a real test, and if he were an incomer to Britain, he would have been denied citizenship on grounds, presumably, of insufficient engagement with British society. Not good for someone who is meant to represent it.

It would be interesting to get test results from other MPs. So if you plan to meet with your MP in the coming weeks, take a copy of our test and see report back their score.

Photo: flickr.com/uk_parliament/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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