(lost British political campaign website; 1997)

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Labour election site.png

The website captured post election.

Status: Lost

The 1997 UK general election was the first general election to be held in Britain in which political parties sought to engage with voters online. The Labour Party was chief among these, producing an campaign site,, which was regarded as the most successful site of the election. The site was only publicly available during the campaign, with no archives of the website being made during this period. As a result, the website is now lost.

Context and contents

Labour opened its main website in October 1994, the first political party in the UK to do so.[1] By the time of the 1997 election, 31 national and regional parties had registered websites on the internet, and there existed among members of the press and the parties themselves anticipation for the first “internet election”.[1][2]

The Labour Party’s website would be hosted separately from its main website at the URL "". Designed by communications company The Wire Station at a cost of £200,000, the website had a “professionally very attractive” layout, incorporating a search engine.[3][1]

The website hosted a range of multimedia features; graphics and video were provided, as were audio clips, with visitors treated both to a “personal welcome” from party leader Tony Blair and a rendition of D:REAM’s Things Can Only Get Better, the campaigns official theme song.[1][3] The website also provided a text-only version.[1] Updated daily, the site contained details of press conferences held by the party, press releases, and coverage of party member tours.[1][3] The site also provided a copy of the parties’ manifesto and issue-specific pages on “a broad range of issues”.[1] The party held online question and answer sessions with Blair, although it cannot be confirmed if these were hosted on, or on the parties main site.[1]

The website offered an online store on which supporters could buy merchandise – however, no interactive features, such as a message board, were provided, out of concern that “a participant could claim to be a Labour-member and voice the untrue feelings of the ‘Labour-members’ without any possible verification”.[1][3]

Aftermath and availability

Labour would win the election by a landslide, achieving a 179 seat majority. Labour’s online campaign was not regarded as a significant contributor to this victory, with only 7% of Britons using the internet at the time and even fewer using it to find information about the election.[4] It was estimated that during the campaign, Labour’s site saw 100,000 visitors.[5] However, while the general standard of websites produced by the parties was regarded as substandard[6] and “empty of content and substance”[7], Labour’s was regarded as the most impressive, with the greatest range of information and most sophisticated layout.[1][3]

After the election, the campaign site was taken down and replaced with a page directing visitors to the main Labour page at The earliest capture of the website on the Wayback Archive, dating from 12 December 1998, captures the site after this replacement.[8] Consequently, there is no capture of the site that dates from the election, rendering it lost.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 The First Internet Election? United Kingdom Political Parties and Campaigning in Cyberspace, Stephen Ward and Rachel Gibson in “Political Communications: Why Labour Won the General Election of 1997" ed. By John Bartle, Ivor Crewe and Brian Gosschalk (Taylor & Francis, 1998)
  2. Gibson, R.K. (2020). When the Nerds Go Marching In: How Digital Technology Moved from the Margins to the Mainstream of Political Campaigns. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Schalken, C.A.T. (1998). Internet as a New Public Sphere for Democracy? In I.Th.M. Snellen & W.B.H.J. van de Donk (eds.) Public Administration in an Information Age: A Handbook (pp.159-174). Amsterdam: IOS Press.
  4. Coleman, S., & Hall, N. (2001). E-Campaigning and Beyond. In S. Coleman (ed). 2001 Cyberspace Odyssey: the Internet in the UK election. London: The Hansard Society.
  5. Butler, D., & Kavanagh, D. (1998). The British General Election of 1997. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  6. Belfield, R. (1997, May). The net: Roll on to the next election. New Statesman.
  7. Auty, C. & Nicholas, D. (1998). British political parties and their web pages. Aslib Proceedings, 50(10), 283-296
  8. The LabourWin97 website, archived on December 12 1998