Meet the woman who's just joined the race for Ukip leadership

Huntingdonshire's Ukip leader Lisa Duffy already has a lot to contend with if she is going to stake her claim as head of the national party.

Already up against Ukip's North West MEP Steven Woolfe's strongly worded launch for the position, her backer - and the party's former deputy director - Suzanne Evans has described her as "not politically minded" and "not a household name".

So what do we actually know about her?

Her personal life.

Duffy and partner, Pete, both back Ukip.
Duffy and partner, Pete, both back Ukip (Euro Realist Newsletter/Flickr)

Duffy, 48, is a mother-of-six and lives in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, where she acts as town councillor and ward councillor within the Huntingdonshire District Council.

Although she has said she had always voted Ukip or independent, for Duffy it hasn't always been about politics and up until 10 years ago she worked in retail.

Starting work at her parents' corner shop when she was 13 years old, she worked her way up the ladder to store manager at TK Maxx at the Manchester Piccadilly Gardens branch, then as a George manager for Asda.

Her political career.

Duffy works closely with Patrick O'Flynn.
Duffy works closely with Patrick O'Flynn (Gareth Fuller/PA)

It all started, she said, when her partner, Pete Reeve, now the party's local government spokesman, opened the first Ukip Manchester branch.

"I saw the passion of the people round the table, how much they cared about people and their country," she said.

She said she joined Ukip herself in November 2004 and her first election was against Labour stalwart Hazel Blears in Salford in 2005. In 2006 she stood in local elections and became Ukip regional chairman of the North West.

Duffy then became a party director and national co-ordinator of the Ukip Young Independence scheme - raising its membership, she said, from three people to more than 1,000.

She can also add "Ukip's first mayor" to her CV after she was elected to the post in Ramsey.

Currently she is chief of staff to Patrick O'Flynn, Ukip MEP for the East of England, and her Twitter page states she is chair of Ramsey Christmas lights.

Her plans for Ukip.

Evans is hopeful Duffy would be a fresh face for Ukip.
Evans is hopeful Duffy would be a fresh face for Ukip (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Although admitting she is not "politically-minded", Duffy said of herself: "I'm not a nobody in the party. I've been quietly and persistently working behind the scenes giving us electoral success."

Her plan, she said, would be to bring Ukip back to its grassroots to keep it relevant in the face of new challenges to Britain following the EU referendum result.

She told Cambridge News: "We fought the referendum and got the result we wanted and I want to make sure we deliver what we said we would and that our promises are kept.

"We have got to show we are not just a party of the right - we have been picking up a lot of traditional Labour voters."

Duffy has been praised by Suzanne Evans - whose own ambitions for leadership were scuppered when she was suspended from the party - for being a "very different kind of leader" to the party's former head, Nigel Farage.

Ukip's prominent LGBT campaigner Nathan Garbutt has also pledged his support for Duffy, in the hope she would become Ukip's first female leader:

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