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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
PREM19/4052 Defence (Prime Minister's visits to Clyde Submarine Base: anniversaries in the history of Nuclear Powered Ballistic Submarines (SSBN); launch of a frigate in Scotland) Begins: 1989 Jun 15 Ends: 1993 Jan 13 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4053 Defence ( Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve Forces: report of the Review Body on Armed Forces; pay on Bounties for the Reserve Forces; mobilisation of Reserves; reinforcement plan) Begins: 1979 Jul 4 Ends: 1993 Aug 5 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4055 Defence (Nuclear test veterans and workers) (Part 1) Begins: 1990 Dec 14 Ends: 1993 Dec 8 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24 File classification: Confidential Pages: 203
PREM19/4060 Defence (Meetings with the Chiefs of Staff) (Part 1) Begins: 1979 Jun 19 Ends: 1993 Oct 28 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4061 Defence (Armed forces pay: service doctors and dentists pay; local overseas allowance) (Part 4) Begins: 1987 Nov 16 Ends: 1993 Feb 12 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4066 Disasters (Damage caused by storms and severe weather conditions: storm damage after the hurricane on 16 October 1987; damage after the storms of January and February 1990) (Part 1) Begins: 1987 Oct 16 Ends: 1993 Jul 5 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24 File classification: Secret Pages: 246
PREM19/4068 Djibouti (UK/Djibouti relations) Begins: 1986 Aug 6 Ends: 1993 Sep 19 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4090 Economic Policy (Policy on small firms: Local Enterprise Agencies) (Part 7) Begins: 1987 Jul 8 Ends: 1993 Dec 31 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4091 Economic Policy (Insolvency law reform) Begins: 1983 Sep 29 Ends: 1993 Apr 26 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4092 Economic Policy (VAT zero rates: infraction proceedings; European Court of Justice judgment) (Part 2) Begins: 1989 Mar 1 Ends: 1993 Nov 4 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
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
PREM19/4106 Energy (North Sea oil prices: petrol prices; world oil market) (Part 4) Begins: 1987 Mar 6 Ends: 1993 Sep 30 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4112 Environmental Affairs (The litter problem in the UK: Environmental Protection Bill) (Part 3) Begins: 1990 Aug 2 Ends: 1993 Jun 11 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4127 European Policy (Franco-Germany relations: meetings between Chancellor Schmidt and President Giscard d'Estaing; meetings between Chancellor Kohl and President Mitterrand) Begins: 1980 Mar 17 Ends: 1993 Jul 14 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24
PREM19/4128 European Policy (Invitations for the Prime Minister to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg) Begins: 1980 Sep 30 Ends: 1993 Nov 15 Date of release: 2018 Jul 24