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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 Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pagessort descending
PREM19/3070 Manpower (Special employment measures: Prime Minister's seminar on training, 2 February 1990; future of the Skills Training Agency) (Part 23) Begins: 1990 Jan 23 Ends: 1990 Feb 28 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 329
PREM19/1759 Foreign Policy (East/West relations) (Part 6) Begins: 1985 Dec 1 Ends: 1986 Oct 30 Date of release: 2015 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Secret Pages: 329
PREM19/1296 Jordan (Visits to UK by King Hussein; meetings with Prime Minister) (Part 2) Begins: 1982 Jul 1 Ends: 1984 Nov 30 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 11 File classification: Secret - UK Eyes A Pages: 330
PREM19/2092 Economic Policy (G7 Summit - Toronto) (Part 25) Begins: 1988 Jun 13 Ends: 1988 Jun 17 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Secret and Personal Pages: 330
PREM19/1092 Nationalised industries (Coal mines) (Part 7) Begins: 1982 Sep 9 Ends: 1983 May 10 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 330
PREM19/2860 South Africa (Internal situation: relations with UK) (Part 19) Begins: 1989 Apr 6 Ends: 1989 Aug 31 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 12 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 330
PREM19/1452 Economic policy (Public Spending) (Part 31) Begins: 1984 Dec 17 Ends: 1985 Apr 30 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 330
PREM19/2547 Soviet Union (Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry: Prime Minister's interest in cases of Ida Nudel, Anatoly Shcharansky, Alexander Paritsky) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 25 Ends: 1987 Jan 23 Date of release: Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 331
PREM19/480 Government machinery (Internal audit & financial control in government) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 30 Ends: 1981 Aug 12 Date of release: 2011 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 331
PREM19/2120 Education (General policy on education and education expenditure: national curriculum; future of Inner London Education Authority (ILEA); financial delegation to schools; financial crisis at University College Cardiff) (Part 13) Begins: 1987 May 1 Ends: 1987 Jul 14 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Confidential Pages: 331
PREM19/2157 European Policy (European Council meeting, Copenhagen, December 1987) (Part 27) Begins: 1986 Sep 22 Ends: 1987 Dec 14 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Secret Pages: 331
PREM19/1493 Fishing Industry (EEC Common Fisheries Policy) (Part 5) Begins: 1981 Sep 22 Ends: 1985 Jun 14 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 331
PREM19/3331 Finland (UK/Finland relations: appointment of Prime Ministers; visits of President and Prime Ministers of Finland) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 1 Ends: 1991 Dec 3 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Confidential Pages: 332
PREM19/3602 Aerospace (European Airbus: European Transonic Windtunnel (ETW)) (Part 3) Begins: 1987 Dec 3 Ends: 1992 Sep 3 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 332
PREM19/1550 Ireland (Prime Minister's meetings with the Taoiseach: Anglo-Irish relations) (Part 9) Begins: 1985 Jul 1 Ends: 1985 Sep 30 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 333

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