Stating his credentials for the leadership, Mr Redwood targeted improving the Tories' standing in town and county halls as one of his key objectives. He was local government minister between 1992 and 1993.
The Conservatives gained control of his own council, Wokingham DC, from the Liberal Democrats in last week's elections for the new unitary authority. Mr Redwood said: 'We can rebuild through local government. Last Thursday we had some victories in councils across the country. In my own constituency we won 19 of the 26 seats on offer - a victory for good council candidates. We won on a promise that more money would go directly to the schools.'
In an oblique reference to the Conservative Party's ageing membership, Mr Redwood pledged to launch a tour of Britain to find Tories able to start the rebuilding process at council level.
'By doing this we can prove our willingness to serve and rebuild the roots of our party.'