From shop cleaner to the po­lit­i­cal big time

A front-run­ner to re­place Nigel Farage as UKIP leader, lo­cal mum of six Lisa Duffy says she is not afraid to tackle dif­fi­cult sub­jects

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Special Report - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

She went from fit­ting room cleaner to a manger at TK Maxx, so stand­ing to be the leader of the coun­try’s third most pop­u­lar party holds no fears for mum-of-six Lisa Duffy.

Although well known within UK IP cir­cles as its first party di­rec­tor, the district and­town coun­cil­lor from Ram­sey is try­ing to rise from na­tional ob­scu­rity to re­place Nigel Far age, one of the coun­try’s most recog­nis­able politi­cians.

Told by a school teacher at 11 that she couldn’t hope to go through life on her per­son­al­ity alone, Ms Duffy left school five years later and be­gan her ca­reer clear­ing the fit­ting rooms at Etam.

Three years later she was a man­ager at the re­tail­ers be­fore run­ning the TK Maxx Pic­cadilly Gar­dens store in Manch­ester.

And hav­ing worked at jew­ellers Rat­ners when Ger­ald Rat­ner said the prod­ucts were rub­bish, Ms Duffy is well-pre­pared for the cri­sis man­age­ment needed at a party grap­pling with its iden­tity af­ter the EU ref­er­en­dum.

De­scrib­ing her man­age­ment style, she said “I do not ex­pect peo­ple to do any­thing I would not do my­self.

“I em­pow­ered peo­ple to work with me. It’s about how you treat staff and lead­ing by ex­am­ple.”

The 48-yearold is the sec­ond favourite to re­place Mr Farage as UKIP leader next month.

Andh aving al­ready ap­peared on the BBC’s Any Ques­tions? she is not wor­ried about fronting up to the na­tional me­dia on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. “I don’t find that daunt­ing,” she said. “Bu­tif you’re not pre­pared you’ll be eaten alive.”

Ms Duffy, wife of for­mer par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for North West Cam­bridgeshire Peter Reeve, is also con­fi­dent about bal­anc­ing her fam­ily life with work.

In part, this is due to hav­ing a “bril­liant mother-in-law” who helps with her six chil­dren, five of whom live at home.

She said: “Whilst I was party di­rec­tor I would be leav­ing home at 6 and get­ting home at 10. There aren’t many more hours in a day you can ac­tu­ally work.”

And just like Mr Farage, who once con­tro­ver­sially claimed chil­dren in Peter­bor- o ugh do not play on the streets be­cause of im­mi­gra­tion, Ms Duffy is not afraid to “stick her neck out” on con­tro­ver­sial is­sues. One of those is her fo­cus on a “pos­i­tive vi­sion for mod­ernising Bri­tish Is­lam.”

She said: “We have a duty of care to Bri­tish Mus­lims that they have a pos­i­tive vi­sion, that they are a huge part of our so­ci­ety mov­ing for­ward. And they want to get rid of the rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion as much as we do. And let’s work to­gether to make that hap­pen.

“I will be work­ing very closely with mem­bers of the Mus­lim com­mu­nity to make sure that we have this pos­i­tive vi­sion and can work to­gether and make in­te­gra­tion hap­pen. Be­cause mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked.

“And we do need to make sure that we have a so­ci­ety where ev­ery­body is wel­come, but it’s one which works re­gard­less of what re­li­gion or back­ground you are.

“There is no in­te­gra­tion. Every­one has been so po­lit­i­cally cor­rect about ev­ery­thing. If you think about back to the 50s and 60s peo­ple came over here, got jobs and in­te­grated into the com­mu­ni­ties that they moved into. And I think that’s what we need to go back to.”

“I em­pow­ered peo­ple to work with me. It’s about how you treat staff.” “Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked.”

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