Veterans' affairs minister Johnny Mercer has risked reigniting his dispute with the Defence Secretary after Ben Wallace said last month that Britain's armed forces had been "hollowed out".
Speaking to LBC about his criticism of Mr Wallace's remarks, the veterans' affairs minister said: "Ben is engaged in a lobbying effort for his department, as you would expect him to be.
"The facts are that when I came into politics, defence spending was around £38bn per year – it is just shy of £50bn a year now."
He added: "It is obviously not credible to say that the money has been taken out of defence, but I will always argue for more money in defence.
"I have huge sympathy for that but I play everyone with a straight bat, and that goes across the board, I'm afraid."
Asked whether Mr Wallace was not "using a straight bat", Mr Mercer replied: "I think he is advocating for his department when a spend is coming up, but when this prime minister was chancellor only 18 months ago, he gave the biggest defence settlement to defence since the end of the Cold War.
"So it is then not credible to go forward and say that we haven't put money into defence. I think we have, I think our MOD (Ministry of Defence) and military is in terrific shape.
"There is lots to be positive about, so I'm afraid I don't really buy into the narrative of running down defence."