A west London MP has defended her decision to join weapons dealers at an industry dinner, following criticism from anti-arms trade campaigners.
Mary Macleod was among more than 40 MPs from the three main parties to attend an event hosted by trade organisation ADS at the exclusive Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London, on February 3.
Pressure group the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) slammed the Brentford & Isleworth MP and fellow politicians for rubbing shoulders with representatives from some of the world's biggest arms companies.
CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith, who also criticised BBC presenter Jeremy Vine for speaking at the event, said: "It's outrageous that the Government actively supports and promotes this deadly trade.
"The fact that arms dealers were swilling champagne with over 40 MPs is a disgrace and shows the extent of the arms trade's connections and political lobbying."
Ms Macleod defended her presence, pointing out that the ADS represents businesses from across the UK's aerospace, defence, security and space industries, which she said contributed a huge amount to the nation's economy.
"My key task within the Government has been to improve growth and jobs in this country and these industries are an important part of the UK economy," she told getwestlondon.
The Tory MP added that she spends 20 days a year in uniform with the RAF, meeting servicemen and women and learning about their work and the challenges they face.
She said this military connection had been a factor in her wanting to attend the dinner and hear about the companies producing new aircraft for the British military.
The ADS does count weapons manufacturers among its members, but the organisation also represents firms involved in fields like cyber security, satellite technology and in last year's successful Rosetta space mission.