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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
PREM19/3274 Economic Policy (Domestic monetary policy) (Part 22) Begins: 1990 May 3 Ends: 1991 May 31 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 271
PREM19/3964 Transport (London Regional Transport: East-West Crossrail) (Part 4) Begins: 1990 May 8 Ends: 1992 Aug 27 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 311
PREM19/3662 Drugs (Drugs) (Part 6) Begins: 1990 May 9 Ends: 1992 Oct 5 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 150
PREM19/3129 Prime Minister (Prime Minister's meeting with Thomas Phillips, Chairman of Raytheon, 19 June 1990) Begins: 1990 May 14 Ends: 1990 Jun 19 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 12
PREM19/3736 European Policy (European Council meeting in Edinburgh, 11-12 December 1992) (Part 41) Begins: 1990 May 21 Ends: 1992 Apr 28 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Confidential Pages: 345
PREM19/3677 Economic Policy (Taxation of individuals, including overseas voters and families: launch of Tax-Exempt Special Savings Account (TESSA) schemes) (Part 5) Begins: 1990 May 22 Ends: 1992 Jul 20 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 22
PREM19/3004 Germany (Prime Minister's meeting with Lothar de Maiziere, Prime Minister of the Germany Democratic Republic, June 1990) Begins: 1990 May 31 Ends: 1990 Jun 27 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/4199 Histories (Policy on commemorations of World War One and Two) (Part 1) Begins: 1990 May 31 Ends: 1993 Dec 31 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/3466 NATO (NATO Summits) (Part 5) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1991 Oct 30 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 215
PREM19/3176 Soviet Union (Prime Minister's visit to the Soviet Union, June 1990: policy) (Part 4) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1990 Jul 3 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 8 File classification: Secret Pages: 208
PREM19/3183 Soviet Union (UK/Soviet relations) (Part 17) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1990 Aug 31 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/3460 National Health (Expenditure and efficiency in the National Health Service (NHS): implementation of NHS reforms) (Part 25) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1990 Dec 29 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 353
PREM19/4332 NATO (NATO Ministerial meetings) (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1993 Jun 10 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/3096 National Health (The Cyclotron Trust) (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1990 Sep 7 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 111
PREM19/3550 Soviet Union (Human rights and the position of dissidents in the Soviet Union: policy towards the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE))​​​​​​​ (Part 1) Begins: 1990 Jun 1 Ends: 1991 Mar 4 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 31

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