Martin was first elected MEP for the North East region in 1999. He was elected Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in December 2011 and was Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament from November 2010 to March 2012. He is Conservative Spokesman on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and is also a member of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-EU).
Martin has fought three General Elections for Tynemouth (1997), Gateshead East (1992) and Houghton and Washington (1987).
Born in 1961, he is married with one child. His interests include squash and the restoration of vintage cars. Martin is a member of the Game Conservancy Association.