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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 namesort descending Title Begins Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/3658 Disasters (Thames riverboat disaster: sinking of the Marchioness, 20 August 1989) Begins: 1989 Aug 20 Ends: 1992 Jul 3 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 81
PREM19/3659 Downing Street (Organisation and function of the Prime Minister's Policy Unit; access to papers by members of the Policy Unit) (Part 2) Begins: 1987 Apr 27 Ends: 1992 Jun 24 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 70
PREM19/3660 Downing Street (Physical security aspects of Downing Street) (Part 7) Begins: 1988 Apr 5 Ends: 1992 Jul 2 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3661 Downing Street (Replacement of telephone switchboard: modernisation of telecommunications; telephone systems at No. 10) (Part 2) Begins: 1988 Apr 5 Ends: 1992 Jul 2 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
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
PREM19/3665 Economic Policy (European Investment Bank (EIB): appointments of UK Vice-President and Director of Research; visit by the Chairman, November 1992) Begins: 1986 Jun 10 Ends: 1992 Nov 27 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 21
PREM19/3669 Economic Policy (Competition policy: restrictive trade practices policy; abuse of market power)​​​​​​ (Part 2) Begins: 1986 Mar 3 Ends: 1992 Jan 24 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 583
PREM19/3670 Economic Policy (Consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF): meetings with the IMF and World Bank) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 Oct 3 Ends: 1992 Mar 12 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 289
PREM19/3674 Economic Policy (Exchange rate: exchange control policy) (Part 4) Begins: 1989 Jun 13 Ends: 1992 Jan 8 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 67
PREM19/3676 Economic Policy (National Savings) Begins: 1980 Sep 17 Ends: 1992 Aug 4 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 78
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
PREM19/3678 Economic Policy (Meetings of National Economic Development Council (NEDC): abolition of NEDC and National Economic Development Office (NEDO)) (Part 14) Begins: 1986 Apr 14 Ends: 1992 Jun 23 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 243
PREM19/3689 Economic Policy (Public service redundancy terms) Begins: 1981 May 1 Ends: 1992 Dec 4 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 93
PREM19/3690 Economic Policy (Remuneration of retail pharmacists: proposal for a review body) Begins: 1980 Feb 22 Ends: 1992 Nov 4 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 81
PREM19/3691 Economic Policy (Reports of the Pay Review Bodies: review of the Office of Manpower Economics (OME)) (Part 11) Begins: 1990 Feb 1 Ends: 1992 Jan 24 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 370

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