Party election broadcasts

Party election broadcasts are broadcasts made by the political parties for transmission by television services such as BBC or Independent Television during the period of an election campaign. Party election broadcasts (PEBs) are a form of unmediated political communication.

Montage

Party election broadcasts are broadcasts made on behalf of the political parties which are then simply transmitted by the broadcasters in the course of the election campaign. In this respect, the broadcasters offer free air-time to the political parties for them to transmit their broadcasts.

This practice has developed from the early days of BBC radio and continues today in a form that has adapted to the existence of a fragmented media landscape. One of its founding principles remains, namely, that public broadcasters should make free air-time available to the main political parties so that they can communicate directly to the electorate.

Party Election Broadcasts (PEBs) are different from Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs). PEBs are broadcasts transmitted during an election campaign, whilst PPBs are broadcasts made by the political parties which are transmitted throughout the period of a Parliament, that is, outside of an election campaign.

The first television party election broadcast was transmitted in 1951. Although they have changed in style and length, they continue to feature at every British general election.

We would like to thank the Labour Party, the Conservative Party Archive Trust and the Liberal Democrats for giving their permission for the development of this website. We would also like to thank the BBC and the BFI for making the material available to us.