'Over the past twelve months the Conservative Party has changed. We have set about learning the lessons of our defeat last May and have reformed the way that the Party is organised. We have launched a fundamental review of our approach to local government and have embraced the case for change - most notably in London where Conservatives will campaign with enthusiasm for a directly elected mayor.
'We know we have a long way to go in restoring the British people's trust in the Party but we are making progress. Since last May we have been winning council by-elections right across the country. In total, we have gained 66 seats.
'Today, we are launching our campaign for the local elections. At these elections the Conservative Party will be offering a fresh future for local government. Conservative candidates will offer a real alternative to the polices pursued by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
'Just as in the House of Commons where Labour, supported by the Liberal Democrats, has let power go to their heads, so too in local government where some 30 Labour councils are reported to be under some form of investigation for wrongdoing. The last thing Britain needs today is more representatives of the Labour Party in positions of power.
'In local government and in the House of Commons only the Conservatives can be relied upon to stand up to the Labour Party. Only Conservative councillors offer local government a fresh future'.