A member of the Rover Task Force has criticised the Government for failing to buy British after it emerged less than a third of official vehicles are made at home.

Out of 207 official cars, only 26 are Rovers. Another 22 are made in Britain, including 17 Jaguars.

The figures were obtained by Conservative politician Julie Kirkbride, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Bromsgrove.

She said: "It doesn't show much support for the domestic car industry."

But Government officials insisted they were banned from showing favouritism towards British-based manufacturers, because of EU rules.

Procuring official cars is down to the Government Car and Despatch Agency, which reports to Cabinet Office Minister David Miliband.

A full breakdown of the vehicles by manufacturer has not been made available publicly, but Ms Kirkbride obtained the figures from the House of Commons library.

The British- made cars account for 28 per cent of the Government fleet.

They include nine Rover 800s, three Rover 400s, five Rover 75s and nine Rover 45s, as well as two Land Rover discoveries.

The record for buying British is even more dire when the cars issued to Ministers are examined.

There are 82 of these, but only 11 are made in Britain.

They include four Rover 75s, two Rover 45s, three Jaguars, and two Nissans.

The most popular vehicle is the Ford Mondeo, made in Belgium. The Car and Despatch Agency has bought 47 of these for Ministerial use.

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said: "It would be counter to EU competition regulations for the Government to choose a car on the basis of the country of origin.

"We choose cars which are the best fit for the purpose. Cost would be one of the factors."

But Ms Kirkbride said: "I feel sure Ministers could have given their officials at least a nod that they wanted to buy British.

"The reality is that MG Rover has been marketing its vehicles aggressively in recent years.

"I find it very hard to believe the Government couldn't have got a generous discount, so if cost was a factor they could have bought more MG Rovers."

Ms Kirkbride is a member of the Rover Task Force, set up to advise Ministers and local officials on ways to help the West Midlands economy, which met for the first time on Monday.