Ruth Davidson has questioned the UK Government's goal of reducing net migration to less than 100,000.

The Scottish Conservative leader said it was time for her party to launch a "meaningful and sustained" discussion on immigration.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she contradicted Prime Minister Theresa May by arguing for overseas students to be removed from net migration figures.

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The Tory pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands has never been met since it was first proposed in 2010.

Ms Davidson said the "big reset button" of Brexit should make it easier to achieve in theory, adding: "But we have to ask whether the target continues to be the right one?"

Citing low unemployment levels, she said the potential for growth was "facing ever greater limitations".

The Tory leader also highlighted the "dependency ratio", pointing out that while the number of pensioners in Scotland is expected to rise by 28% over the next 25 years, the number of workers is set to rise by only 1%.

"It is clear that if we want Britain's economy to grow, in order to increase the tax receipts that fund our public services, we need to take action," she wrote.

Recent polling has suggested that only 24% of British adults think that international students are immigrants, while a majority say such students should be allowed to work in the UK for a while after finishing their studies.

Ms Davidson said: "If people don't think that students should be included in the net migration numbers, let's take them out.

"Currently, students can secure a post-study work visa if they secure a graduate-level job within three months of graduating. Should that timescale be extended?"

She added: "Neither of the major parties of government has sought to have a meaningful and sustained discussion with the public about the merits and drawbacks of immigration.

"Since there will always be immigration and emigration, we Conservatives must start - and sustain - that conversation."

Labour's Shadow Scotland Office minister Paul Sweeney said: "The Tories are in open warfare and these comments from Ruth Davidson show just deep the splits in the party run.

"When the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who defends abhorrent policies such as the rape clause, tells Theresa May that she needs to think again, then you know just how wrong the Prime Minister is."