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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 release Any docs withheld? File classification Pagessort descending
PREM19/1458 Economic policy (Domestic monetary policy) (Part 14) Begins: 1985 Jul 3 Ends: 1985 Nov 29 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 397
PREM19/2086 Economic Policy (Domestic monetary policy) (Part 18) Begins: 1988 Jan 9 Ends: 1988 Jun 24 Date of release: 2016 Jul 21 File classification: Secret Pages: 397
PREM19/1660 USA (Prime Minister's visit to New York and the United Nations, October 1985) (Part 5) Begins: 1985 Apr 15 Ends: 1985 Oct 15 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 398
PREM19/2779 National Health (Expenditure and efficiency in the National Health Service: community care) (Part 22) Begins: 1989 Jul 5 Ends: 1989 Oct 30 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Secret Pages: 398
PREM19/547 Nationalised industries (Privatisation) (Part 4) Begins: 1981 Mar 3 Ends: 1981 Sep 18 Date of release: 2011 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 398
PREM19/3249 Defence (Future UK defence policy) (Part 5) Begins: 1990 Aug 9 Ends: 1991 Jan 28 Date of release: 2017 Jul 20 Any docs withheld? 6 File classification: Secret Pages: 399
PREM19/1161 Manpower (Measures to counter unemployment) (Part 9) Begins: 1983 Feb 1 Ends: 1983 Jun 30 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 400
PREM19/1480 European Policy (European Community Budget: developments in the European Community) (Part 30) Begins: 1985 Jun 6 Ends: 1985 Nov 29 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 401
PREM19/2090 Economic Policy (G7 Summit - Venice, June 1987) (Part 23) Begins: 1987 Jun 1 Ends: 1988 Feb 17 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 401
PREM19/1507 Germany (Visit to UK by Helmut Kohl, West German Chancellor, May 1985: Anglo-German Summit in London, November 1985; meetings with Prime Minister) (Part 9) Begins: 1985 Jan 18 Ends: 1985 Nov 29 Date of release: 2014 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 401
PREM19/2308 Local Government (Future of the rating system; rating revaluation; Community Charge) (Part 9) Begins: 1987 Nov 13 Ends: 1988 Mar 31 Date of release: 2016 Feb 19 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Secret Pages: 402
PREM19/1306 Local government (Relations with central government, organisation & finance) (Part 21) Begins: 1984 Jun 1 Ends: 1984 Jul 31 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 2 File classification: Confidential Pages: 403
PREM19/1056 Hong Kong (Future of Hong Kong) (Part 7) Begins: 1983 Jul 1 Ends: 1983 Aug 31 Date of release: 2013 Aug 1 File classification: Secret Pages: 403
PREM19/1361 Prime Minister tours abroad (G7 Summit - London; 40th anniversary of D-Day: administrative arrangements) (Part 1) Begins: 1982 Nov 26 Ends: 1984 May 31 Date of release: 2014 Jan 3 Any docs withheld? 31 File classification: Secret Pages: 403
PREM19/2593 Broadcasting (Broadcasting policy) (Part 7) Begins: 1988 Oct 3 Ends: 1989 Apr 27 Date of release: 2016 Dec 30 File classification: Confidential Pages: 403

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