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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 Beginssort descending Ends Date of release Any docs withheld? File classification Pages
PREM19/2988 European Policy (Setting up of European Bank of Reconstruction and Development) Begins: 1989 Dec 14 Ends: 1990 Sep 23 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/4328 Nationalised Industries (Shipbuilding policy) (Part 16) Begins: 1989 Dec 18 Ends: 1993 Jan 20 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/2979 European Policy (Special European Council meeting in Rome, October 1990) (Part 37) Begins: 1989 Dec 18 Ends: 1990 Nov 7 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 166
PREM19/3136 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to Aspen, Colorado, USA, August 1990: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1989 Dec 20 Ends: 1990 Oct 2 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 3 File classification: Confidential Pages: 236
PREM19/2945 Economic Policy (G7 Summit - Houston, July 1990) (Part 30) Begins: 1989 Dec 21 Ends: 1990 Aug 20 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 6 File classification: Secret Pages: 414
PREM19/4093 Economic Policy (Covenanted charitable donations by close companies: taxation of charities) (Part 2) Begins: 1989 Dec 21 Ends: 1993 Oct 19 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/2838 Scotland (Scottish High Court judges: possible homosexual scandal) Begins: 1989 Dec 22 Ends: 1989 Dec 22 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30
PREM19/3761 Foreign Policy (Future inward and outward State visits: visits by members of the Royal Family) (Part 6) Begins: 1990 Jan 1 Ends: 1992 Jan 31 Date of release: 2032 Jan 1
PREM19/3335 Foreign Policy (Newsletters from Brian Crozier: 'World Briefing' (privately funded monthly intelligence analysis)) (Part 7) Begins: 1990 Jan 1 Ends: 1991 May 31 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 309
PREM19/3333 Foreign Policy (Allegations concerning war crimes: War Crimes Inquiry; War Crimes Bill) (Part 3) Begins: 1990 Jan 1 Ends: 1991 May 1 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 212
PREM19/3396 Industrial Policy (Research and development, including European Community framework programme for research and development) (Part 8) Begins: 1990 Jan 2 Ends: 1991 Mar 12 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 108
PREM19/3098 Nationalised Industries (Gas and electricity pricing policy: privatisation of the electricity supply industry) (Part 18) Begins: 1990 Jan 2 Ends: 1990 Apr 6 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 6 File classification: Secret Pages: 259
PREM19/3155 Science and Technology (Maintaining the strength of the science base: the science budget; report on 'Developments in Biotechnology') (Part 10) Begins: 1990 Jan 2 Ends: 1990 Mar 30 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 File classification: Confidential Pages: 337
PREM19/3063 Local Government (Future of the rating system: rating revaluation; Community Charge) (Part 16) Begins: 1990 Jan 2 Ends: 1990 Feb 28 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 336
PREM19/3508 Poland (UK/Polish relations: internal situation; economic assistance) (Part 12) Begins: 1990 Jan 2 Ends: 1991 May 13 Date of release: 2017 Dec 29 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 274

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