Campaigners have condemned a potential deal to sell Typhoon warplanes to Bahrain, claiming human rights were playing "second fiddle" to business interests.

Talks on supplying the jets, built by a consortium including defence giant BAE Systems, were in their early stages but Bahrain would be a "valuable addition to the Typhoon family", UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) said.

The prospect of a deal was discussed in a meeting between David Cameron and the King of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa in Downing Street last week, it is understood.

Amnesty International UK's campaigns director Tim Hancock said: "Bahrain's human rights situation is appalling and it's worrying that the UK appears to be taking a 'business as usual' approach to selling the country high-tech weaponry.

"The key question is - has the Government done proper risk-assessment here and can it be sure that Eurofighters won't end up being used in the commission of human rights abuses.

"Britain's record on arms to the Gulf is already extremely chequered and it's worrying once again human rights seem to be playing second fiddle to commercial considerations."

The UKTI Defence and Security Organisation said all arms export deals had to meet "stringent internationally recognised criteria".

A spokesman said: "These discussions are still at a very early stage but we welcome the Bahraini interest."