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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
PREM19/1362 Prime Minister tours abroad (G7 Summit - London; 40th anniversary of D-Day: administrative arrangements) (Part 2) Begins: 1984 Jun 1 Ends: 1984 Oct 2 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 10 File classification: Secret Pages: 345
PREM19/1026 European policy (European Council meeting, Athens, December 1983: briefing papers) (Part 13A) Begins: 1983 Nov 8 Ends: 1983 Nov 30 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Confidential Pages: 345
PREM19/3542 Social Services (Review of social security benefits: equality in the state pension age) (Part 7) Begins: 1990 Mar 26 Ends: 1991 Nov 27 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 345
PREM19/2309 Local Government (Future of the rating system; rating revaluation; Community Charge) (Part 10) Begins: 1988 Apr 7 Ends: 1988 Jul 28 Date of release: 2016 Feb 19 File classification: Secret Pages: 345
PREM19/824 Lebanon (Internal situation; Israeli/Lebanese hostilities; UK/Lebanese relations) (Part 2) Begins: 1981 Nov 16 Ends: 1982 Jul 10 Date of release: 2012 Dec 28 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 345
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
PREM19/1168 Argentina (Falklands) (Part 37) Begins: 1984 Apr 1 Ends: 1984 Aug 31 Date of release: Date of release: 2014-01-03 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 345
PREM19/3615 Belgium (Visits to the UK by Belgian Prime Ministers, Wilfried Martens and Jean-Luc Dehaene) Begins: 1979 Jun 29 Ends: 1992 Jun 22 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 345
PREM19/3068 Local Government (Relations between central and local government: local authority expenditure) (Part 37) Begins: 1989 Jun 9 Ends: 1990 Feb 26 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 346
PREM19/1472 Education (Teachers’ pay) (Part 4) Begins: 1985 Feb 6 Ends: 1985 Jul 31 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 347
PREM19/29 Economic policy (Budget) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 4 Ends: 1979 Jun 11 Date of release: Date of release: 2009-12-30 File classification: Secret Pages: 347
PREM19/1640 Social Services (Reform of social security: pensions, housing benefit and supplementary benefit; child support) (Part 3) Begins: 1985 Jun 3 Ends: 1985 Nov 29 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 347
PREM19/404 Civil service (Pay and pensions: public sector pay policy; Civil Service pay dispute; industrial action; establishment of independent inquiry) (Part 7) Begins: 1981 Jul 10 Ends: 1981 Nov 5 Date of release: 2011 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 347
PREM19/953 Argentina (Falklands) (Part 35) Begins: 1983 Sep 19 Ends: 1983 Dec 30 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 Any docs withheld? 13 File classification: Secret Pages: 347
PREM19/3514 Regional Policy (Review of regional policy: Enterprise Zones; Lanarkshire) (Part 8) Begins: 1987 Jan 6 Ends: 1991 Apr 29 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Secret Pages: 347

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