SUNDERLAND Conservatives have chosen the team to lead them into to the 2015 elections, after former group leader Robert Oliver stepped down from his post.
The Tory group on Sunderland City Council will now be headed up by Councillor Lee Martin, who returns to the role after a four-year absence.
New deputy leader will be Fulwell councillor and retired police officer John Wiper.
Coun Martin said: “The Conservatives are the only party that can deliver change in Sunderland.
“All of us know that change is necessary in Sunderland, but too few of us are prepared to do anything about it.
“That’s something John and I intend to challenge in the year ahead.”
The Tory says he accepts that voting blue is not an option for some in Sunderland and that the party itself must change.
He added: “As a party, we need to broaden our membership, our appeal, and have a more diverse team of candidates to offer to the voters.
“Barely one in three Sunderland voters bothered to vote in the elections on May 22.
“With next year’s local elections to be held on the same day as the general election, we intend using the higher turnout to change the face of Sunderland politics.”
Coun Martin, who represents the Barnes ward, will carry on with his day job as a marketing consultant.