ROMSEY’S MP has defended her decision to join a parliamentary trip to Equatorial Guinea.

Caroline Nokes joined fellow Tory MPs, journalists and lobbyists on the summer visit to the African country where Amnesty International claims police and soldiers regularly torture and illtreat detainees.

Labour MPs have criticised Mrs Nokes and her colleagues for not finding more out about the Equatorial Guinea government before travelling to the country. However, Mrs Nokes says the trip had the support of officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mrs Nokes said: “Obviously aware of the appalling reputation Equatorial Guinea has, yet also knowing that the last report on the country’s human rights record is now several years old and possibly out of date, and that Amnesty International now relies on the International Red Cross for monitoring purposes, I specifically asked if the delegation had the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was informed that it did because information about the county is not contemporaneous.”

The £25,000 trip, which was funded through the Triarius Foundation via Equatorial Guinea’s government, saw the delegation meet with ministers and visit hospitals.