A newly-elected Conservative councillor who was suspended after posting a series of "offensive" posts on social media has been elected and reinstated.
Antony Mullen, who now represents the Barnes ward of Sunderland, was suspended at a national level following comments labelled as offensive by Labour and Liberal Democrats.
The Twitter posts included describing his city as a "post-apocalyptic ****hole" and the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott as a “filthy, bulbous pig”.
The teaching assistant won a majority in Thursday's elections with 1,560 votes - just 322 more votes than his Labour rival Zaf Iqbal.
Mr Mullen claimed his comments had been taken out of context or "wildly construed to give an unfavourable impression" of him.
A Conservative party statement said the tweets had been made between four and seven years ago while he was a student at Durham University and before he became a Tory member.
Durham University confirmed in April “the views that have been reported are wholly inconsistent with Durham University’s values".
In a statement the university said it was "looking into the issue".
Meanwhile, a local party investigation determined Mr Mullen's tweets "may not have been to everyone's taste" but "there was never any intention to offend or cause hurt".
Mr Mullen apologised for his comments but said he was "appalled and shocked at the attempts to brand me as a racist".
He said: "I wish to state that I did not at anytime intend to cause offence to anyone."