THE Liberal Democrats have accused the Tories of peddling “utter confusion” over their immigration plans and urged Theresa May to spell out when she intends to meet her target of cutting net migration to the tens of thousands.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister signalled that she wanted to get net migration down below the 100,000 mark by the end of the next parliament in 2022.

However, later on BBC One's Question Time, David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, said it was simply "an aim", adding: "We can't promise it within five years."

During a visit to Doncaster on Friday, Mrs May made clear that it would “take time" to meet the target. "We haven't set a timetable in our manifesto. Of course, we want to do it as soon as we can but we have to keep working at this," she said.

Net long-term migration - the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country - was estimated to be 248,000 last year, well above the Tories’ 100,000 target.

In his new role as Evening Standard editor, George Osborne, the former Chancellor, ran an editorial, which said none of the senior members of the Cabinet supported the pledge privately and that retaining it was "economically illiterate".

Sir Vince Cable, who was Business Secretary in the Lib-Con coalition government, said: “Theresa May ploughed ahead with this immigration target, which none of the Cabinet believed in, including most of its Conservative members.”

Liberal Democrat HQ accused the Tories of peddling “utter confusion” over their immigration policy.

Lord Paddick, the party’s home affairs spokesman, said the Conservatives needed to explain what the true position was.

"Theresa May and David Davis can't both be right; which one is telling us the truth?" he asked.

"This is a ludicrous policy that would cause enormous damage to our economy and devastate our public services like the NHS who rely on migrant workers."

Meantime, Jeremy Corbyn suggested the Conservatives would never meet their target.

Asked if cutting immigration was a good ambition to have, the Labour leader told reporters in York: "We've had these statements in the last two general elections and now the third from the Conservatives and they've come nowhere near meeting whatever they said they were going to do.

"What we've said is that on leaving the European Union free movement obviously ends but managed migration will continue based on the economic needs of this country.

"Today we're at a science park in York, there's brilliant creative scientists here, who have come from all parts of the world to contribute to the science base and technology base of our industries and some of them are students that studied at York University.

"We have to work with the rest of the world but there will be managed migration. We will not allow undercutting of existing wages and conditions in our industries and it will be based on the needs of our country and our economy," he added.