Boris Johnson has set up a clash with Theresa May over students and migration numbers

Mark Sands
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Boris Johnson Addresses Think Tank On The UK And Brexit
Johnson has served as foreign secretary since Theresa May's rise to power over the summer. (Source: Getty)

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has publicly rejected the government's policies on migration numbers, specifically the inclusion of student numbers.

Only in October, Downing Street stressed that there is no review of the current plan – which sees students included in net migration sums.

That was a reaction to comments from chancellor Philip Hammond, who had suggested there are “conversations within government” about changing the position.

Read More: Londoners don't want students to be classed as immigrants

And this morning, Johnson has admitted that he backs a change in calculations, publicly rejecting the line from the very top of government.

Asked on Peston on Sunday whether students should be excluded from migration numbers, Johnson said: “I do take that view.”

“I think it's of massive benefit to this country that we are open.”

Read More: Sadiq Khan brands student visa rules 'silly'

Johnson added that he endorsed the government in cracking down on students who were not studying for a “bona fide degree” or staying on without permission.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said this morning: "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed and we are not reviewing whether or not students are included."

It comes just days after the latest net migration figures showed a minimal dip from record numbers, while Downing Street has stressed the reform of the rules will also be central to Brexit renegotiations.

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