Tesco chief Philip Clarke has received a boost after former boss Lord MacLaurin insisted shareholders give him more time to turn around the grocer.

According to The Independent, Lord MacLaurin said Clarke was struggling now more than ever and laid the blame for the current failures at former boss Sir Terry Leahy’s feet.

Clarke will face questions from investors at the AGM this Friday. At last year’s AGM Lord MacLaurin launched an attack on Leahy.

Lord MacLaurin said: “I think Philip is under more pressure this year but it will take at least three years to turn Tesco around. The City is very short term and he needs some time to do it. I stand by what I said last year: the judgment of a good chief executive, and I’m not just talking about Terry, is how he leaves it for his successor. If you’re a good chief executive, you have to leave it in good shape, otherwise the incumbent has an uphill task.

“When Terry left Tesco he had left a US business that was wasting huge amounts of money and an underinvested UK business. Of course, it is going to be tough for Philip. I know from experience how long it takes to turn the business around.”

Lord MacLaurin said he has no plans to attend this year’s AGM.