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Ruth Davidson: ‘We have to ask whether the target continues to be the right one’ [Image: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images].

No, I’m not turning into a Tory – and Ruth Davidson would not be among my favourites even if I was.

But she is right to question Theresa May’s immigration target, because its inclusion of students skews the numbers out of proportion.

These are not people who have moved to the UK to start a new life. In fact, they don’t intend to stay here longer than it takes to get their qualification. Some may wish to stay, but most won’t.

So it is pointless to include them in immigration statistics – unless the aim is to inflate those statistics artificially in order to create a false sense of alarm in the indigenous population, thereby boosting support for Brexit.

Now, who could possibly want to do that?

A split at the top of the Conservatives on immigration policy has emerged after the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, called on the government to consider scrapping its target of reducing the number of new arrivals to tens of thousands a year.

Davidson, who is on the liberal wing of the party, has previously defended the “tens of thousands” target pledged by David Cameron before the 2010 election, which has never been hit.

But writing in the Telegraph, she said: “By 2010, pollsters reported that immigration was consistently a top concern to voters. Since then, of course, the British government has failed to hit its self-imposed ‘tens of thousands’ target in any year.

“Brexit is a big reset button and should – in theory – make that much easier to do so. But we have to ask whether the target continues to be the right one.”

Davidson also called for No 10 to think about taking students out of the official immigration statistics.

Source: Ruth Davidson calls for government to review immigration target | Politics | The Guardian


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