Indy gave Primark a fair chance to reply

I wish I'd been given an opportunity to comment on Geoff Lancaster's attack on The Independent's coverage of Primark ('ABF hits out over "inaccurate" Primark ethics story,' 13 January).

He is wrong to suggest we gave him five minutes' notice to comment on our story. As soon as I knew we would be carrying Ethical Consumer's decision to rate Primark as the least-ethical clothes retailer, I phoned Primark's Ireland HQ. This was at 2pm, over five hours before our final deadline.

Asked to request a comment in writing, I sent an email at 2.59pm and heard nothing. Concerned that Primark would not be able to comment, I sent another email at 5.25pm.

Lancaster then called. By the time we finished discussing the story the article was about to go to print, but I ensured his comment was written in.

Martin Hickman, consumer affairs correspondent, The Independent.

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