Archive

Error message

An illegal choice has been detected. Please contact the site administrator.

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 releasesort ascending Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/194 Economic policy (Small firms: eliminating undue burdens; enterprise proposals; assistance; tax relief) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 27 Ends: 1980 Jun 20 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 173
PREM19/288 Liberia (Visit to UK by President Tolbert, December 1979: meeting with Prime Minister) Begins: 1979 Jun 13 Ends: 1980 Mar 5 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 141
PREM19/163 Defence (Defence budget) (Part 3) Begins: 1980 Jan 25 Ends: 1980 Oct 16 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 248
PREM19/256 Housing (Housing policy; the Housing Bill; council house sales) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 22 Ends: 1980 Jul 31 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 117
PREM19/349 Rhodesia (Constitutional Conference, Lancaster House, London, Sept-Dec 1979: proceedings & conference papers, CC (79) 11-40) Begins: 1979 Sep 14 Ends: 1979 Oct 26 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Restricted Pages: 269
PREM19/227 European Policy (European Community budget) (Part 9) Begins: 1980 Jun 4 Ends: 1980 Sep 19 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 196
PREM19/320 Pakistan (Visit to UK by Agha Shahi, Foreign Minister, June 1980: meeting with Prime Minister) Begins: 1980 Jun 12 Ends: 1980 Jun 19 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 70
PREM19/195 Economic policy (Possible changes in the taxation of bank profits) Begins: 1979 Nov 14 Ends: 1980 Mar 20 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 61
PREM19/81 Ireland (Northern Ireland situation) (Part 2) Begins: 1979 Aug 27 Ends: 1979 Sep 28 Date of release: 2010 Nov 10 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Secret Pages: 184
PREM19/245 Government Machinery (Review of non-departmental public bodies (quangos): report by Sir Leo Pliatzky) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jul 23 Ends: 1980 Jan 17 Date of release: Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 250
PREM19/54 European policy (European Community budget) (Part 2) Begins: 1979 Jul 13 Ends: 1979 Oct 25 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 244
PREM19/22 Economic policy (Public Spending) (Part 5) Begins: 1979 Oct 1 Ends: 1979 Oct 23 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 122
PREM19/101 Parliament (Legislative programme) (Part 2) Begins: 1979 Jul 12 Ends: 1979 Nov 23 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 334
PREM19/55 European policy (European Community budget) (Part 3) Begins: 1979 Oct 25 Ends: 1979 Nov 30 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 329
PREM19/23 Economic policy (Public Spending) (Part 6) Begins: 1979 Oct 24 Ends: 1979 Nov 19 Date of release: 2009 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 292

Pages

Pages