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 release Any docs withheld?sort descending File classification Pages
PREM19/3302 Elections (Election procedure) (Part 4) Begins: 1990 Sep 5 Ends: 1991 Jan 30 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Secret Pages: 175
PREM19/1300 Libya (UK/Libyan relations; threat to Libyan dissidents in UK; shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside Libyan People's Bureau, 17 April 1984; severance of diplomatic relations) (Part 2A) Begins: 1984 Apr 17 Ends: 1984 May 2 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 207
PREM19/3507 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to Washington, December 1990; administrative arrangements) Begins: 1990 Nov 27 Ends: 1990 Dec 29 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Confidential Pages: 73
PREM19/2451 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to Paris, June 1988: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1988 May 13 Ends: 1988 Jun 27 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Confidential Pages: 24
PREM19/1658 USA (Prime Minister's visit to Washington, February 1985) (Part 4A) Begins: 1984 Dec 10 Ends: 1985 Feb 15 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Secret Pages: 320
PREM19/2436 Prime Minister's Tours Abroad (Prime Minister's visit to European Council meeting in Brussels, June 1987: administrative arrangements) Begins: 1987 Mar 6 Ends: 1987 Jul 2 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Restricted Pages: 29
PREM19/3433 Malawi (Visits to UK by Life President Banda) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jul 19 Ends: 1991 Jun 17 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Confidential Pages: 200
PREM19/2789 Netherlands (Visits to UK by Queen Beatrix, November 1982 and January 1989) Begins: 1981 Dec 15 Ends: 1989 Jan 16 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Confidential Pages: 134
PREM19/3217 Agriculture (Prime Minister's lunch with innovative farmers, 3 May 1991) Begins: 1989 Nov 27 Ends: 1991 May 2 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 4 File classification: Confidential Pages: 75
PREM19/3591 Zambia (Visits to the UK by the Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda)​​​​​​​ (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Nov 1 Ends: 1991 Nov 15 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Confidential Pages: 290
PREM19/3278 Economic Policy (G7 Summit - London, July 1991) (Part 31) Begins: 1988 Aug 22 Ends: 1991 Mar 29 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Confidential Pages: 249
PREM19/2382 Parliament (Queen's Speeches on prorogation and opening of Parliament: televising the State Opening) (Part 7) Begins: 1986 Jul 21 Ends: 1987 Jun 29 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Confidential Pages: 282
PREM19/2053 Defence (Arms control) (Part 10) Begins: 1986 Dec 1 Ends: 1987 Mar 10 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 261
PREM19/2054 Defence (Arms control) (Part 11) Begins: 1987 Mar 11 Ends: 1987 Apr 30 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Secret and Personal Pages: 228
PREM19/3175 Soviet Union (Prime Minister's visits to the Soviet Union, September 1989 and June 1990: policy) (Part 3) Begins: 1989 Apr 19 Ends: 1990 May 31 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 5 File classification: Top Secret Pages: 188

Pages

Pages