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School of Politics and International Relations

Home Office urged to correct false slavery information in citizenship test

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More than 175 historians have called on the Home Office to remove the history element of the UK citizenship test because of its "misleading and false" representation of slavery and empire. The signatories, including academics from Queen Mary University of London, say the official handbook, which the Life in the UK test is based on, creates a distorted version of history, which directly counters the values of tolerance and fairness it purports to promote. In an open letter, the signatories write: "The official handbook published by the Home Office is fundamentally misleading and in places demonstrably false. [...] People in the colonies and people of colour in the UK are nowhere actors in this official story. The handbook promotes the misleading view that the empire came to an end simply because the British decided it was the right thing to do. Similarly, the abolition of slavery is treated as a British achievement, in which enslaved people themselves played no part. The book is equally silent about colonial protests, uprisings and independence movements." 

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Read the open letter here