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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
PREM19/315 Nationalised Industries (Correspondence with Alan Newman Ltd about contract for conversion of liner into floating hotel: negative response from Harland and Wolff and British Shipbuilders) Begins: 1980 Jul 2 Ends: 1980 Aug 4 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 14
PREM19/190 Economic policy (Public Service pay negotiating machinery) Begins: 1980 Jan 4 Ends: 1980 Feb 13 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 14
PREM19/383 USA (Visits to UK by Cyrus Vance, US Secretary of State: meetings with Prime Minister) Begins: 1979 May 14 Ends: 1980 Feb 22 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 173
PREM19/252 Home Affairs (Pay of magistrates court staff; industrial action) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 11 Ends: 1980 Oct 13 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 157
PREM19/345 Rhodesia (Situation in) (Part 15) Begins: 1980 Feb 16 Ends: 1980 Feb 29 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 221
PREM19/223 European Policy (European Community budget) (Part 5) Begins: 1980 Jan 22 Ends: 1980 Feb 25 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 144
PREM19/316 New Hebrides (Independence; security situation; disturbances on Santo and Tanna; Anglo/French consultations) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Aug 31 Ends: 1980 Jul 17 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 153
PREM19/191 Economic policy (Proposal for a national investment trust to promote wider property ownership: report by Leo Pliatzky, July 1980) Begins: 1980 Jul 17 Ends: 1980 Dec 23 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 59
PREM19/384 Yemen Arab Republic (Visit to UK by Prime Minister Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, November 1980: meeting with Prime Minister) Begins: 1979 Aug 13 Ends: 1980 Jan 4 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 69
PREM19/253 Home Affairs (Increase in incidence of leukaemia in Lancashire; correspondence with Stan Thorne MP) Begins: 1979 Oct 4 Ends: 1980 Feb 25 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 69
PREM19/346 Rhodesia (Situation in) (Part 16) Begins: 1980 Feb 29 Ends: 1980 Mar 19 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 224
PREM19/224 European Policy (European Community budget) (Part 6) Begins: 1980 Feb 26 Ends: 1980 Mar 19 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 153
PREM19/317 New Hebrides (Independence; security situation; disturbances on Santo; Anglo/French consultations; dispatch of military forces) (Part 2) Begins: 1980 Jul 18 Ends: 1980 Jul 30 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 64
PREM19/192 Economic policy (Demonetisation of old sixpence) Begins: 1980 Jan 25 Ends: 1980 Jan 28 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Unclassified Pages: 6
PREM19/285 Israel (Visit to UK by Yigael Yadin, Deputy Prime Minister, March 1980: call on Prime Minister) Begins: 1980 Mar 3 Ends: 1980 Apr 3 Date of release: 2010 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 19

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