Margaret Thatcher's papers: 'Single most significant document' written by former Prime Minister among newly released accounts

The text of her 'lady is not for turning' speech is among the documents

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The Independent Online

A handwritten memoir of the Falklands War, which is likely the “single most significant” document Margaret Thatcher ever wrote, has been publicly released alongside other papers by the Prime Minister.

The papers, which complete the documentary record of Baroness Thatcher’s life, are now available to the public at the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge.

Containing three handwritten memoirs, the documents also include material written after her premiership.

Baroness Thatcher’s family donated her papers to the nation to cut around £1million from an inheritance tax bill on her estate of nearly £1.9million.

Her children Sir Mark Thatcher and Carol Thatcher will be among family members to benefit from the deal, according to The Daily Telegraph.

A source told the newspaper that the papers were headed for a US university, but Baroness Thatcher’s estate rejected the deal so the documents could remain in the UK.

Among the papers is a previously unpublished 128 page, 17,000 word handwritten account of the Falklands War, which Baroness Thatcher penned in Easter 1983 – almost a year after the Argentine invasion.

They give an emotional insight into how she handled the war, including her relationships with colleagues including Foreign Secretary Francis Pym, as well as politicians in Washington.

Arts Council England has hailed the document as “probably the single most significant historical document Margaret Thatcher ever wrote”.

The publication has also revealed a final draft of Baroness Thatcher’s planned comments for her first appearance outside Number 10 as the Prime Minister, as well has her now oft-quoted  “not for turning” speech at the Oct 1980 Conservative Party Conference.


A third handwritten note sees Baroness Thatcher recount a visit to Moscow for the funeral of Soviet President Chernenko in March 1985, where she rekindled her acquaintance with his successor, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Arts Council England chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette said: “Whatever our politics we have to recognise Margaret Thatcher as a major historical figure. Her papers will now join those of Churchill and be available to scholars of the 20th century.”

The majority of Baroness Thatcher's papers dated up to 1984 are already available, while later documents are being sorted and catalogued. They will continue to be released annually in parallel to official material at the National Archives, subject to review by the Cabinet Secretary for sensitive official material.

Additional reporting by PA