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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 releasesort ascending Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/326 Parliament (Legislative programme) (Part 4) Begins: 1980 Feb 15 Ends: 1980 Mar 31 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 191
PREM19/201 Education (Committee of inquiry into the education of handicapped children and young people: responses to the Warnock Report, 1978) Begins: 1980 Feb 15 Ends: 1980 Jul 22 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 17
PREM19/169 Economic policy (Public Spending) (Part 12) Begins: 1980 Nov 11 Ends: 1980 Nov 24 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 220
PREM19/262 Industrial policy (Industrial relations law) (Part 3) Begins: 1980 Feb 3 Ends: 1980 Feb 14 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 232
PREM19/139 Anguilla (Legislation for separation of Anguilla from St Kitts-Nevis) Begins: 1980 Mar 26 Ends: 1980 Oct 22 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 20
PREM19/356 Security (Leak of documents on defence expenditure to Press Association) Begins: 1980 Oct 23 Ends: 1980 Dec 17 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 84
PREM19/233 Fishing industry (EEC Common Fisheries Policy) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 May 8 Ends: 1980 Jan 31 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 260
PREM19/234 Fishing industry (EEC Common Fisheries Policy) (Part 2) Begins: 1980 Mar 3 Ends: 1980 May 7 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 134
PREM19/202 Education (Non-teaching staff employed by local education authorities) Begins: 1980 Jan 30 Ends: 1980 Mar 10 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 16
PREM19/295 Middle East (Situation in the Middle East) (Part 2) Begins: 1979 Sep 21 Ends: 1980 May 9 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 250
PREM19/170 Economic policy (Privatization) (Part 3) Begins: 1980 Feb 11 Ends: 1980 Oct 29 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 182
PREM19/263 Industrial policy (Industrial relations law) (Part 4) Begins: 1980 Feb 14 Ends: 1980 Apr 11 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 215
PREM19/140 Argentina (Visit to UK by Dr Martinez de Hoz, Minister of Economy, June 1980) Begins: 1980 Feb 26 Ends: 1980 Jun 11 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 16
PREM19/357 Security (Review of adequacy of leaks procedure) Begins: 1980 Jan 4 Ends: 1980 Aug 4 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 57
PREM19/235 Fishing industry (EEC Common Fisheries Policy) (Part 3) Begins: 1980 May 9 Ends: 1980 Aug 15 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 178

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