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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
PREM19/3803 India (Visits of Indian Ministers of Finance: Pranab Mukherjee's meeting with the Prime Minister, September 1982) (Part 1) Begins: 1982 Aug 19 Ends: 1992 Sep 1 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Confidential Pages: 22
PREM19/3804 Industrial Policy (British Technology Group (BTG): compendium; privatisation) (Part 3) Begins: 1989 Feb 1 Ends: 1992 Mar 10 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 129
PREM19/3805 Industrial Policy (Future of Rover Group) (Part 17) Begins: 1990 Apr 1 Ends: 1992 Mar 11 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3806 Industrial Policy (Ports: national dock strike in 1989; privatisation of Trust Ports) (Part 6) Begins: 1989 Jun 1 Ends: 1992 Mar 10 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Secret Pages: 310
PREM19/3808 Industrial Policy (Prime Minister's meetings with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on policy for inner cities (September 1981) and with the Scottish TUC (September 1982): consultations with trade unions) (Part 3) Begins: 1981 Aug 24 Ends: 1992 Apr 16 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 122
PREM19/3809 Industrial Policy (Microelectronics industry: Inmos Ltd (INMOS)) (Part 3) Begins: 1984 Apr 20 Ends: 1992 Dec 7 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3810 Industrial Policy (Short Brothers plc: sale to Bombardier; launch aid application for Learjet 45 project) (Part 3) Begins: 1989 Apr 18 Ends: 1992 Dec 4 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 93
PREM19/3815 Iraq (Exports to Iraq (Scott Inquiry)) (Part 4) Begins: 1990 Oct 18 Ends: 1992 Nov 19 Date of release: Date of release: Retained under Sec 3.4 (reconsideration in 2021)
PREM19/3824 Ireland (Brian Nelson: public interest issues and protection of intelligence sources and methods​​​​​​​) Begins: 1990 Sep 1 Ends: 1992 Dec 14 Date of release: Date of release: Temporarily Retained by Department
PREM19/3825 Ireland (Prime Minister's visits to Northern Ireland) (Part 6) Begins: 1990 Oct 1 Ends: 1992 Feb 6 Date of release: Date of release: 2028 File classification: Retained Sec 3.4
PREM19/3827 Israel (Visits to the UK by Israeli Foreign Ministers) Begins: 1986 Sep 15 Ends: 1992 Sep 8 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 8 File classification: Secret Pages: 179
PREM19/3828 Israel (Internal situation: UK/Israel relations) (Part 2) Begins: 1986 Feb 4 Ends: 1992 Jul 23 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Secret Pages: 426
PREM19/3829 Israel (Visits to the UK by Israeli Prime Ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin) (Part 2) Begins: 1990 Oct 1 Ends: 1992 Dec 16 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 1 File classification: Confidential Pages: 88
PREM19/3830 Jamaica (Visit to the UK by Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica, October 1979) Begins: 1979 Jun 19 Ends: 1992 Jun 25 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 39
PREM19/3834 Japan (Visits to the UK by Japanese Ministers) Begins: 1981 May 26 Ends: 1992 May 15 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 File classification: Confidential Pages: 103

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