Ukip leadership candidate Lisa Duffy is a town councillor for Ramsey in Cambridgeshire, ward councillor for Ramsey ward on Huntingdonshire District Council, and is the authority's Ukip leader.

Her Twitter page states she is chairman of Ramsey Christmas Lights.

The 48-year-old mother-of-six is the chief of staff to Patrick O'Flynn, Ukip MEP for the East of England, and she is a former director of the party.

She said she joined Ukip in November 2004 and it was her first party, noting that she had always voted independent or Ukip.

[Related story: Suzanne Evans backs Ukip councillor Lisa Duffy for top job]

Her career before politics was in retail - as a senior store manager for TK Maxx at the Manchester Piccadilly Gardens branch and as a George manager for Asda, having started work at her parents' corner shop when she was 13 years old.

She said she decided to join the party 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.

Her first election was against Labour stalwart Hazel Blears in Salford in 2005, and in 2006 she stood in local elections and became Ukip regional chairman of the North West.

She was national co-ordinator of the Ukip Young Independence scheme and said she took its membership from three people to more than 1,000.