Tesco has intensified its libel battle with The Guardian by demanding a front-page apology.
The grocer’s latest demands follow a “correction and clarification” run by The Guardian 10 days ago, in addition to a two-page article and leader column on the subject.
Tesco launched legal proceedings against The Guardian and its editor Alan Rusbridger last month after several articles claimed the supermarket chain could have avoided paying£11 billion in tax – an allegation that the newspaper has since admitted was incorrect.
In a seven page letter, Tesco’s solicitor Carter Ruck said: “The one paragraph ‘correction and clarification’ [is] utterly eclipsed and debased by the surrounding articles, including the disgracefully self-serving and misleading editorial on the same page.
“Your clients’ behaviour is not just extraordinarily ill-judged, but about as disreputable as any supposedly responsible newspaper’s and editor’s could be.”
Tesco is seeking malicious falsehood from The Guardian, which could result in a multimillion-pound lawsuit.
A spokesman for The Guardian said: “We are surprised that Tesco should write in these terms and treat a legal letter like a press release since it well knows that our defence is due on Friday. We remain bewildered by the tactics of one of Britain’s largest companies.”