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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
PREM19/4010 Bahamas (Internal situation/relations) (Part 1) Begins: 1982 Jun 16 Ends: 1993 Feb 2 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4012 Belize (Internal situation/relations: visits to UK by Manuel Esquivel, Prime Minister of Belize) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Dec 12 Ends: 1993 Oct 29 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4014 Brazil (UK relations with Brazil: internal situation) (Part 1) Begins: 1982 Sep 30 Ends: 1993 Nov 26 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4017 Bulgaria (UK relations with Bulgaria: internal situation) (Part 1) Begins: 1981 Jun 18 Ends: 1993 Nov 18 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4021 Cabinet (Cabinet Committee structure and membership) (Part 4) Begins: 1990 Oct 19 Ends: 1993 Nov 23 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4023 Cabinet (Questions of Procedure for Ministers) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 Feb 14 Ends: 1990 Dec 20 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4025 Canada (UK/Canadian relations: Canadian Constitution; British North America Acts) (Part 7) Begins: 1990 Aug 4 Ends: 1993 Sep 8 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4026 Canada (Visits to UK by Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Mulroney and his successors) (Part 2) Begins: 1988 Apr 7 Ends: 1993 Jul 2 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4027 Cars (Replacement of cars at No 10: protection of Prime Minister's cars) (Part 3) Begins: 1986 Feb 4 Ends: 1993 Feb 10 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4033 Civil Service (Property Services Agency restructuring: Wardall Enquiry) (Part 4) Begins: 1990 Aug 3 Ends: 1993 Jun 23 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4040 Commonwealth (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association: annual conference) Begins: 1983 Jul 14 Ends: 1993 Apr 16 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4042 Cyprus (Internal situation/relations) (Part 4) Begins: 1989 Apr 1 Ends: 1993 Feb 28 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/4043 Czechoslovakia (UK/Czechoslovakia relations: Prime Minister's visit) Begins: 1983 May 17 Ends: 1993 Jan 4 Date of release: 2018 Dec 28
PREM19/4050 Defence (The D Notice System: Defence Press and Broadcasting Committee (DPBC)) Begins: 1980 Mar 14 Ends: 1993 Jul 13 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4051 Defence (Strategic food stockpile) Begins: 1979 Jun 20 Ends: 1993 Feb 22 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24 File classification: Secret Pages: 119