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MT's official files as Prime Minister, 1979-90

MT's official files as PM can be read on this site as they are released, in full and free to all - the confidential files originally stored at No.10, the core record of her premiership.

The files have been copied at the British National Archives (TNA) at Kew in London and can be downloaded precisely as they appear in the reading room.

We are doing something more to help people make sense of this mass of information. The files are subject-based, logically enough, but that system makes it difficult to reconstruct the flow of paper across the Prime Minister’s desk at any point in time, depriving us of a sense of context and cross-winds, some of them overwhelming.

To combat this effect we are uploading a large selection of the most important documents from these files – thousands in total - to our powerful site database. You can search and sort by date, subject and other parameters, getting as close as anyone can now get to reconstructing the Prime Minister’s daily "Red Boxes", the rich diet of foreign and domestic policy papers submitted to her by the No.10 Private Office.

List and links to the PM’s files

Below are links to the downloadable files in numerical order. The subject terms are those used in the original filing system.

An average file has around 200 pages.

You can read here an account of how filing worked at No.10, and the system for archiving MT’s Prime Ministerial papers, both of which had their quirks.

Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Private Office files, 1979-1989

1979-89: Chancellor’s Private Office files [links to hundreds of digitised files from the Chancellorships of Sir Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson]

Engagement Diaries

An alternative way through the material is to read MT’s engagement diaries, jumping day to day.

The engagement diaries link directly to relevant documents in the site database, so this is a good way to recover the perspective from the Red Box.

File name Title Begins Endssort descending Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/2805 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Professor Margaret Turner-Warwick. President of the Royal College of Physicians, July 1989) Begins: 1989 Jul 23 Ends: 1989 Jul 31 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 21
PREM19/3944 Security (The Bloch Affair) Begins: 1989 Jul 25 Ends: 1992 Sep 2 Date of release: Date of release: Retained Under Sec 3.4
PREM19/4363 Prime Minister (Request from Mr Seymour Reich, President of B'nai B'rith International, for a meeting with the Prime Minister: Middle East peace process and Soviet Jewry) Begins: 1989 Jul 31 Ends: 1992 Nov 10 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/4348 Police (Police pay) (Part 3) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1993 Nov 16 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/3512 Regional Policy (Inner cities policy and problems: Action for Cities; regeneration of London Docklands) (Part 17) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1991 Apr 12 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 254
PREM19/3342 Foreign Policy (Summary notes on Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) Assessments) (Part 4) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1991 Feb 22 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/2765 Local Government (Future of the rating system: rating revaluation; Community Charge) (Part 14) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1989 Oct 1 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 324
PREM19/3069 Manpower (Special employment measures: future of the Employment Service; training policy) (Part 22) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1990 Jan 23 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 369
PREM19/3421 Lebanon (Internal situation: UK/Lebanese relations) (Part 9) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1991 Jul 31 Date of release: Date of release: Retained Under Sec 3.4
PREM19/2621 Disasters (Disaster at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, 15 April 1989) (Part 2) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1990 Apr 10 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/2641 Economic Policy (G7 Summit - Paris, July 1989) (Part 29) Begins: 1989 Aug 1 Ends: 1989 Sep 4 Date of release: 2019 Apr 16
PREM19/2627 Economic policy (Public Spending) (Part 43) Begins: 1989 Aug 2 Ends: 1989 Dec 21 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 319
PREM19/3658 Disasters (Thames riverboat disaster: sinking of the Marchioness, 20 August 1989) Begins: 1989 Aug 20 Ends: 1992 Jul 3 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 81
PREM19/2724 Home Affairs (Acid house parties) Begins: 1989 Aug 22 Ends: 1989 Dec 5 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/3348 France (Visits to UK by President Mitterrand) (Part 7) Begins: 1989 Sep 1 Ends: 1991 Dec 6 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 14 File classification: Secret UK Eyes A Pages: 230

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