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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
PREM19/2784 Nationalised Industry (Gas and electricity pricing policy: privatisation of the electricity supply industry; nuclear power) (Part 17) Begins: 1989 Sep 7 Ends: 1989 Dec 22 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20
PREM19/3413 Japan (UK/Japanese relations: UK-Japan 2000 Group; exports to Japan) (Part 9) Begins: 1989 Sep 7 Ends: 1991 Feb 28 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 295
PREM19/3374 Greece (Visits to UK of Greek Prime Ministers, Tzannis Tzannetakis and his successor Konstantinos Mitsotakis) (Part 2) Begins: 1989 Sep 11 Ends: 1991 Sep 27 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 9 File classification: Secret Pages: 164
PREM19/2822 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to the United Nations and Washington, November 1989: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1989 Sep 14 Ends: 1989 Dec 22 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20
PREM19/2752 Japan (Prime Minister's visit to Japan, September 1989) (Part 3b) Begins: 1989 Sep 18 Ends: 1989 Nov 10 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/2607 Commonwealth (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM), Kuala Lumpur, October 1989) (Part 15) Begins: 1989 Oct 1 Ends: 1989 Oct 21 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 322
PREM19/3480 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meetings and correspondence with Jack Peel) (Part 2) Begins: 1989 Oct 1 Ends: 1991 Mar 27 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 23
PREM19/2927 Commonwealth (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 1989) (Part 16) Begins: 1989 Oct 1 Ends: 1990 Oct 24 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 310
PREM19/2664 European Policy (European Community budget: developments in the European Community) (Part 43) Begins: 1989 Oct 2 Ends: 1989 Nov 30 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/3108 Parliament (Legislative programme) (Part 19) Begins: 1989 Oct 2 Ends: 1990 Mar 30 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 444
PREM19/3169 Social Services (Uprating of social security benefits, including child support) (Part 5) Begins: 1989 Oct 2 Ends: 1990 May 18 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 287
PREM19/2766 Local Government (Future of the rating system: rating revaluation; Community Charge) (Part 15) Begins: 1989 Oct 2 Ends: 1989 Dec 29 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 352
PREM19/3314 European Policy (European Convention on Human Rights: Prime Minister's visit to Paris for Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Summit, November 1990) (Part 3) Begins: 1989 Oct 4 Ends: 1990 Dec 17 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 6 File classification: Secret Pages: 365
PREM19/3191 Trade (UK's international trade policies: analysis of UK imports; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Uruguay Round) (Part 7) Begins: 1989 Oct 6 Ends: 1990 Nov 27 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 343
PREM19/3147 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to the Soviet Union, June 1990: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1989 Oct 6 Ends: 1990 Jun 21 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 6 File classification: Secret Pages: 176

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