Click here to skip to content

Political parties

We receive the publications of the current British political parties and have good collections of the publications of earlier political parties. These are entered on the Integrated Catalogue.

Our print collections

You can search for print items in our collection on Explore the British Library. A useful way of getting started with finding the publications of political parties is by using the advanced search, and entering the name of your party (e.g. conservative party) in the author field. You will find publications from the central party, regional associations and research units. We try to collect as much as we can from all parties active in the UK, and have important collections from countries around the world. Political party publications can sometimes be published informally and in very short and local runs, so we do not hold everything published by a party.

We also buy microfilm collections, which draw together thousands of pamphlets, leaflets and other publications from parties. These include: Archives of the British Conservative Party, Archives of the British Labour Party, and Archives of the British Liberal Party. You can search for these by title on our catalogue, or see a full listing on our Document Supply Microform Research Collections page.

In our Reading Rooms, Readers also have access to the electronic archive collections of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Our sound collections

Our sound collections include recordings made by the Labour Party, Communist Party and Socialist Workers' Party. We also hold detailed oral history collections of Conservative, Labour and Communist parties. 

Find out more about our Oral history: politics and government collections.

General elections

Starting with 2005, we have created a large archive of websites produced during UK general elections, and, from 2009, European parliamentary elections. These include websites produced by political parties, candidates, campaigns and pressure groups, the BBC, and blogs.  

You can view these on the UK Web Archive as follows:

You can read the texts of Conservative, Labour and Liberal manifestos from earlier elections in the following publications, available in our Social Sciences Reading Room:

Craig, F.W.S. 1975. British general election manifestos 1900- 1974. London: Macmillan.
shelfmark: OPL 329.010942

Craig, F.W.S. 1990. British general election manifestos 1959- 1987. Aldershot: Dartmouth
shelfmark: OPL 329.010942

Useful links

British Political Parties - directory on politicsresources.net

Social Sciences Enquiry team

For more help on using the Social Sciences collections, contact the Enquiry team at Social-sciences@bl.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7412 7894 from 10.00 - 20.00 Mon- Thurs or 10.00 - 17.00 Friday.