Ukip leadership: Suzanne Evans backs Lisa Duffy to take over from Nigel Farage

 
James Nickerson
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Evans was suspended in March for disloyalty to the party (Source: Getty)

Former deputy chair Suzanne Evans has backed Lisa Duffy to take the reins of the UK Independence Party after Nigel Farage stepped down.

Farage stepped down shortly after the Brexit vote, stating: "During the referendum I said I wanted my country back. Now I want my life back."

It had been speculated that Evans, who was suspended from the party, could end up being a frontrunner to lead it in a post-Brexit world.

Read more: Nigel Farage has resigned again - here are his career highlights

However, speaking today she said Ukip needs to move away from its "one man band image" and have more internal democracy.

Duffy is "not a household name, yet, but definitely one to watch", Evans said, adding that the new leader should "look completely different" and ensure Ukip moves on from being what she describes as "less political party, more rugby club on tour".

Evans is currently a Ukip councillor.

Referring to Steven Woolfe, Diane James and Jonathan Arnott, Duffy's competitors, Evans said: "Our MEPs represent Ukip's past. After all, there's now a sunset clause in their contract."

She added that Duffy has a belief in the public health service, as well as equal rights and opportunities for all.

Read more: Farage says Britain could continue to contribute to EU budget

During the speech she also said Ukip's national executive committee is "like the EU Commissioners - they deliberate in secret, have power without accountability and, once they are in place, no matter what they do, you can't get rid of them".

As part of reforming the party, Evans said the party needs to "break free of its hard right image" and become "the patriotic, can-do party which encourages the country to make the most of Brexit".

However, Woolfe still looks set to clinch the leadership, leading his candidates with bookmakers.

Evan is credited with helping Ukip create their manifesto ahead of last year's general election.

However, on 23 March this year, she was suspended for six months for disloyalty by the party's internal disciplinary committee. The move stopped her running for London mayor.

In response, she began to pursue legal action in the High Court against the decision on the grounds that rules were allegedly being abused.

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