January 24, 2022

UK Prime Minister’s Files, 1998 – 2000 & Cabinet Office Files, 1997-2000 Released Today by National Archives

From the National Archives (UK):

Today we release files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office covering the first years of Tony Blair’s premiership. The newly released Cabinet Office files (CAB and PREM) shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad under Blair’s leadership.

Some Examples of Files Being Released Include:

PREM 49/23 DEATH Death of Diana, Princess of Wales: part 1. The file includes drafts of the funeral order of service and copies of letters of condolence.

PREM 49/190 AGRICULTURE. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Inquiry: part 1. This file contains correspondence relating to a proposed inquiry into BSE and vCJD, including remarks on the pros and cons of an inquiry.

PREM 49/844, HERITAGE. Millennium Bug. This file contains details of preparations, parliamentary updates, regional press coverage and correspondence regarding public and international preparedness for the Year 2000.

Also included are files covering UK relations with other countries such as China, the United States, South Africa and Egypt.

Access the Documents via National Archives Catalogue, “Discovery”

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About Today’s Cabinet Office Files Release:

Today we have released Cabinet Office files (CAB and PREM series) covering the period 1997-2000. The newly released files shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad during the first years of Tony Blair’s government.

Some of the issues in the files include:

  • Home affairs
  • Regional policy
  • Relations with other countries
  • Meetings with foreign leaders and governments

The National Archives has digitised 100 files from this release and they are available to download and view below. Owing to the large size of these files, we recommend you save them to your desktop before opening them. Please right click on the links and select the ‘save’ option.

Some Examples of Files Released

PREM 19/6233
ROYAL FAMILY: Princess of Wales
19 October 1993 – 7 December 1996

Correspondence relating to the Princess of Wales’ overseas visits and charity appearances in the wake of her divorce.

PREM 19/6233 (PDF, 15.0 MB)


PREM 49/23
DEATHS. Death of Diana, Princess of Wales: part 1
31 August 1997 – 4 September 1997

This file contains many reports and updates from the British Embassy in Paris regarding the circumstances of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the progress of the French official inquiry.

PREM 49/23 (PDF, 53.4 MB)


PREM 49/187
ROYAL FAMILY: Diana, Princess of Wales, Birthday Messages
16 February 1981 – 30 June 1997

This file is comprised solely of drafts of telegrams or other forms of message sent by prime ministers and their partners sent to Diana, Princess of Wales on her birthday (1 July) between 1982 and 1997.

PREM 49/187 (PDF, 15.7 MB)


PREM 49/190
AGRICULTURE. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Inquiry: part 1
22 August 1997 – 26 January 1998

Contains correspondence relating to a proposed inquiry into BSE and vCJD, including remarks on the pros and cons of an inquiry, namely the risk that an inquiry would damage progress being made on lifting the EU export ban on British beef.

PREM 49/190 (PDF, 84.0 MB)


PREM 49/191
AGRICULTURE. Agricultural policy: part 9
17 December 1997 – 15 January 1998

Includes correspondence about the beef industry, including discussion about the Certified Herds Scheme and support for livestock farmers who suffered a loss of income.

PREM 49/191 (PDF, 103.7 MB)


PREM 49/202
AGRICULTURE. Agricultural policy: part 20
27 October 1998 – 18 November 1998

Includes correspondence about the beef industry, particularly with reference to BSE in Portugal.

PREM 49/202 (PDF, 130.5 MB)


PREM 49/207
CABINET. Cabinet briefs: part 1
7 May 1997 – 29 April 1998

This file mainly consists of briefing notes to the Prime Minister from the Cabinet Secretary sent prior to Cabinet meetings notifying him about issues on which Cabinet Ministers will be reporting.

PREM 49/207 (PDF, 66.8 MB)


PREM 49/208
CABINET. Cabinet business: part 2
1 August 1997 – 28 April 1998

This file can be summed up as a ‘forward look’ of Cabinet and Cabinet Committee business, with various issues listed and commented upon. The material includes a diary of Government announcements and a list of potential news-making activities.

PREM 49/208 (PDF, 117.7 MB)


PREM 49/213
CHINA. UK/Chinese relations: part 1
2 May 1997 – 30 April 1998

The file dates from August 1997, immediately after the transfer of Hong Kong to China in July of that year. I

PREM 49/213 (PDF, 113.8 MB)


PREM 49/216
CHINA. UK/Chinese relations: part 4
1 October 1998 – 26 October 1998

The file concerns Tony Blair’s trade mission to China and Hong Kong in October 1998.

PREM 49/216 (PDF, 118.8 MB)


PREM 49/217
CHINA. Prime Minister’s visit to China, 6-10 October 1998: Briefing; part 1
1 October 1998 – 2 October 1998

Contains extensive briefing notes for Tony Blair for various meetings and events during his visit.

PREM 49/217-1 (PDF, 144.3 MB)


PREM 49/217
CHINA. Prime Minister’s visit to China, 6-10 October 1998: Briefing; part 2
1 October 1998 – 2 October 1998

Contains similar material, including details of prospective Department for International Development (DFID) projects (e.g. sustainable water, health) in China. There are details of Mrs Blair’s programme and itinerary.

PREM 49/217-2 (PDF, 123.9 MB)


PREM 49/235
DEATHS. Death of Diana, Princess of Wales: part 2
5 September 1997 – 18 October 1998

This file includes: arrangements for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and arrangements for the flowers and other tributes which the public had presented at the Royal Palaces.

PREM 49/235 (PDF, 91.4 MB)


PREM 49/244
DOMESTIC POLICY. Strategy: part 1
24 July 1997 – 27 April 1998

This file contains memos from David Miliband, Peter Mandelson and others about forward planning, new initiatives, Government priorities, progress on objectives, and potential problem areas.

PREM 49/244 (PDF, 55.9 MB)


PREM 49/248
ECONOMIC POLICY. Sherpa: Nuclear safety; part 1
1 September 1997 – 31 March 1998

This file contains letters between UK and G7 leaders and Sherpas, as well as correspondence with Ukraine regarding Chernobyl.

PREM 49/248 (PDF, 82.8 MB)


PREM 49/249
ECONOMIC POLICY. Sherpa: Nuclear safety; part 2
3 April 1998 – 29 October 1998

This file contains letters (including drafts) and replies from the Prime Minister to and from other international leaders, e.g. from Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the USA.

PREM 49/249 (PDF, 162.8 MB)


PREM 49/264
EMPLOYMENT. Employment policy: part 7
13 December 1997 – 30 January 1998

This file includes two annexes containing statistical releases from the Office for National Statistics, concerning the Labour Market Statistics release for November 1997, and the Labour Force Survey historical supplement for 1997, and the Labour Market Statistics release for December 1997.

PREM 49/264 (PDF, 196.7 MB)


PREM 49/295
EUROPEAN POLICY. Enlargement of European Community: applications of Portugal and Spain; possible application from Turkey; accession of Greece; part 2
25 July 1997 – 31 December 1998

This file contains correspondence relating to the UK Presidency, its key theme and priorities; cooperation initiatives with the French; Turkey’s expectations; Cyprus; the CAP reform; and the UK abatement.

PREM 49/295 (PDF, 94.2 MB)


PREM 49/311
EUROPEAN POLICY. European Monetary Union (EMU): Single Currency; part 6
12 December 1997 – 10 March 1998

This file is focused on the forthcoming launch of the Euro in 1999, the possible outcomes for the EU, and the implications for Britain.

PREM 49/311 (PDF, 86.9 MB)


PREM 49/312/1
EUROPEAN POLICY. European Monetary Union (EMU): Single Currency; part 7
12 March 1998 – 28 August 1998

This file includes papers about the first meeting of ‘Euro-X’ (the finance ministers of the soon to be formed Euro Zone) and how the British Government should respond to this.

PREM 49/312-1 (PDF, 161.3 MB)


PREM 49/312/2
EUROPEAN POLICY. European Monetary Union (EMU): Single Currency; part 7.
12 March 1998 – 28 August 1998

This file includes profiles of European Central Bank governors, profiles of various European countries and assessments of their ‘convergence position’ with respect to the Euro, and briefing papers for a Special EMU Council in early May 1998.

PREM 49/312-2 (PDF, 80.4 MB)


PREM 49/319
EUROPEAN POLICY. International Appointments; part 1
2 May 1997 – 31 January 1998

This file relates to candidates for appointments to senior positions in international politics.

PREM 49/319 (PDF, 89.3 MB)


PREM 49/346
HERITAGE. Millennium Exhibition: Millennium Dome; part 3
20 October 1997 – 16 January 1998

Although titled Millennium Dome, this file concentrates on progress and preparations for the ‘millennium experience’, including the dome.

PREM 49/346 (PDF, 64.0 MB)


PREM 49/347
HERITAGE. Millennium Exhibition: Millennium Dome; part 4
20 January 1998 – 13 March 1998

This file continues the planning for the ‘Millennium Experience’.

PREM 49/347 (PDF, 58.1 MB)


PREM 49/348
HERITAGE. Millennium Exhibition: Millennium Dome; part 5
16 March 1998 – 31 July 1998

This file contains further papers on the progress and planning for the ‘Millennium Experience’.

PREM 49/348 (PDF, 99.2 MB)


PREM 49/349
HERITAGE. Millennium Exhibition: Millennium Dome; part 6
7 August 1998 – 30 October 1998

This file contains further progress reports in relation to the dome, its contents and structure.

PREM 49/349 (PDF, 127.1 MB)


PREM 49/353
HISTORIES. Policy: part 1
02 May 1997 – 30 April 1998

This file contains correspondence relating to the publication of a report on ‘British Policy towards Enemy Property during and after the Second World War’ and the claims procedure; Nazi gold; Far Eastern Prisoners of War; and the campaign for a two-minute silence to be observed on 11 November as well as on Remembrance Sunday.

PREM 49/353 (PDF, 152.4 MB)


PREM 49/354
HISTORIES. Policy: part 2 With Photograph
07 May 1997 – 19 December 1998

This file mostly contains correspondence relating to the Home Front Memorial at Coventry Cathedral.

PREM 49/354 (PDF, 89.2 MB)


PREM 49/355
HOME AFFAIRS. Criminal justice system: Part 8
19 December 1997 – 7 February 1998

This file contains correspondence and policy papers on a raft of criminal justice reforms planned by the Government towards the end of 1997 and the beginning of 1998.

PREM 49/355 (PDF, 164.0 MB)

HOME AFFAIRS. Criminal justice system: Part 17
16 November 1998 – 15 December 1998

This file contains correspondence and policy papers on a raft of criminal justice and legal reforms planned by the Blair Government towards the end of 1998.

PREM 49/364 (PDF, 193.0 MB)


PREM 49/365
HOME AFFAIRS. Policy towards disabled people: eliminating discrimination against disabled people; invalid care allowance; part 1
20 May 1997 – 22 May 1998

This file contains correspondence regarding the proposal to implement Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

PREM 49/365 (PDF, 111.8 MB)


PREM 49/368
HOME AFFAIRS. Drugs: part 2
1 December 1997 – 30 March 1998

The file shows that the Government carried out a review of programmes concerning drug misuse in December 1997.

PREM 49/368 (PDF, 152.0 MB)


PREM 49/377
HOME AFFAIRS. Hunting policy: part 1
22 May 1997 – 16 April 1998

This file mostly contains correspondence relating to the Wild Mammals (Hunting with Dogs) Bill, including the issue of Government time and possible options for amendment.

PREM 49/377 (PDF, 74.4 MB)


PREM 49/378
HOME AFFAIRS. Immigration rules: part 2
3 November 1997 – 28 January 1998

This file contains correspondence on asylum seekers and immigration.

PREM 49/378 (PDF, 76.2 MB)


PREM 49/379
HOME AFFAIRS. Immigration rules: part 2
3 November 1997 – 28 January 1998

This file contains two copies of the draft white paper (working title): ‘Fairer, Faster and Firmer: Modernising our Immigration Control,’ which sets out the government’s strategy in the area.

PREM 49/379 (PDF, 156.3 MB)


PREM 49/380
HOME AFFAIRS. Immigration rules: part 4
2 February 1998 – 26 June 1998

This file contains correspondence about new support arrangements for asylum seekers.

PREM 49/380 (PDF, 174.1 MB)


PREM 49/381
HOME AFFAIRS. Police policy: part 1
19 May 1997 – 29 July 1998

This file includes correspondence on the overarching aims and objectives for the police, and ministerial priorities for 1999/2000.

PREM 49/381 (PDF, 117.5 MB)


PREM 49/383
HOME AFFAIRS. Race relations: part 1
5 June 1997 – 30 June 1998

This file includes correspondence on government strategy for race relations and equality of opportunity.

PREM 49/383 (PDF, 115.5 MB)


PREM 49/384
HOME AFFAIRS. Women’s rights: part 1
4 June 1997 – 31 October 1998

This file relates to policy and action documents regarding equal rights and treatment for women in relation to jobs and salaries.

PREM 49/384 (PDF, 167.9 MB)


PREM 49/445
MINISTERS. Ministers’ conduct: part 5
23 December 1997 – 24 February 1998

This file includes, as well as other issues about standards in public life, correspondence about the registration and funding of political parties, and possible legislation in this area, which is deferred.

PREM 49/445 (PDF, 72.1 MB)


PREM 49/446
MINISTERS. Ministers’ conduct: part 6
25 February 1998 – 30 April 1998

This file includes papers concerning the Committee on Standards in Public Life Inquiry on the funding of political parties, and it also covers issues such as political donations by companies,  and the registration of political parties.

PREM 49/446 (PDF, 83.7 MB)


PREM 49/478
PRIME MINISTER. Prime Minister’s meetings with Opposition leaders: part 1
4 June 1997 – 31 December 1998

This file mainly consists of correspondence with William Hague, Leader of the Opposition, and Paddy Ashdown, Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

PREM 49/478 (PDF, 91.0 MB)


PREM 49/505
SOUTH AFRICA. UK/South Africa relations: internal situation; part 1
9 May 1997 – 25 June 1998

A report on the internal situation in South Africa speculates that Thabo Mbeki will soon succeed Nelson Mandela as President.

PREM 49/505 (PDF, 74.9 MB)


PREM 49/569
USA. UK/US relations: part 3
2 January 1998 – 31 January 1998

This file contains correspondence relating to the Prime Minister’s future visit to Washington in February 1998.

PREM 49/569 (PDF, 64.6 MB)


PREM 49/570
USA. UK/US relations: part 4
2 February 1998 – 18 March 1998

This file contains information largely relating to the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in early February 1998, and then subsequent conversations about various issues with President Clinton.

PREM 49/570-1 (PDF, 148.6 MB)


PREM 49/690
EGYPT. UK/Egyptian relations: internal situation; part 1
15 May 1997 – 8 February 1999

This file contains correspondence relating to the attacks in Luxor in November 1997; defence equipment cooperation between Egypt and the UK; President’s Mubarak’s views on the Middle East Peace Process; terrorism; and Tony Blair’s visit to Egypt in April 1998.

PREM 49/690 (PDF, 80.2 MB)


PREM 49/730
EUROPEAN POLICY. European Monetary Union (EMU): Single Currency; part 8.
20 July 1998 – 30 January 1999

These two files are focused on the prospects for UK convergence in relation to EMU.

PREM 49/730-1 (PDF, 127.8 MB)


PREM 49/762
FISHING. European Union Common Fisheries Policy: UK fishing industry; part 2
21 July 1997 – 28 May 1999

The majority of this file is taken up with discussions about the future of the UK fishing industry.

PREM 49/762 (PDF, 120.1 MB)


PREM 49/836, 838, 839, 840, 843
HERITAGE. Millennium Exhibition: Millennium Dome; parts 8, 10, 11, 12, 15
4 January 1998 – 7 December 1999

These files contain further papers on the progress and planning for the ‘Millennium Experience’.

PREM 49/836 (PDF, 99.6 MB)
PREM 49/838 (PDF, 95.4 MB)
PREM 49/839 (PDF, 79.7 MB)
PREM 49/840 (PDF, 75.1 MB)
PREM 49/843 (PDF, 90.5 MB)


PREM 49/844, 845 pts 1 and 2, 846, 848, 849, 850
HERITAGE. Millennium Bug: parts 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
22 October 1998 – 7 October 1999

These files contain details of preparations, parliamentary updates, regional press coverage and correspondence regarding public and international preparedness for the Year 2000.

PREM 49/844 (PDF, 118.4 MB)
PREM 49/845-1 (PDF, 51.3 MB)
PREM 49/845-2 (PDF, 79.4 MB)
PREM 49/846 (PDF, 132.5 MB)
PREM 49/848 (PDF, 109.5 MB)
PREM 49/849 (PDF, 98.9 MB)
PREM 49/850 (PDF, 96.0 MB)


PREM 49/855
HOME AFFAIRS. Animal welfare matters: part 1
2 May 1997 – 24 February 1999

This file contains correspondence regarding the Welfare of Animals in Quarantine Bill and the Wild Mammals (Hunting with Dogs) Bill.

PREM 49/855 (PDF, 66.3 MB)


PREM 49/882
HOME AFFAIRS. Homosexual rights in Great Britain and Europe: part 1
24 June 1997 – 29 March 2000

The Home Secretary, seeks agreement from his colleagues to reducing the homosexual age of consent to 16.

PREM 49/882 (PDF, 90.3 MB)


PREM 49/886
HOME AFFAIRS. Immigration rules: part 7
13 May 1999 – 14 July 1999

This file contains correspondence relating to the support of asylum seekers and their families, as well communication about what are described as ‘inadequately documented arrivals’ on the Eurostar and freight trains.

PREM 49/886 (PDF, 83.5 MB)


PREM 49/887
HOME AFFAIRS. Immigration rules: part 8
17 July 1999 – 8 October 1999

This file contains a paper on the Immigration and Asylum Bill: Judicial Review.

PREM 49/887 (PDF, 103.4 MB)


PREM 49/892
HOME AFFAIRS. Race relations: part 2.
3 July 1998 – 22 March 1999

This file includes a draft outline White Paper on race equality which sets the government’s agenda for the next 10 years.

PREM 49/892-1 (PDF, 82.1 MB)
PREM 49/892-2 (PDF, 66.9 MB)


PREM 49/893
HOME AFFAIRS. Race relations: part 3
29 March 1999 – 15 June 1999

This file contains correspondence discussing the implications of the Macpherson Report for the public sector.

PREM 49/893 (PDF, 117.3 MB)


PREM 49/894
HOME AFFAIRS. Race relations: part 4
16 June 1999 – 24 August 1999

This file begins with information on religious festivals (supplied by the Race Equality Unit) to help the Prime Minister’s Office anticipate invitations and requests from religious organisations.

PREM 49/894 (PDF, 70.4 MB)


PREM 49/895
HOME AFFAIRS. Women’s rights: part 2
2 November 1998 – 29 June 1999

This file contains further policy and action documents regarding equal rights and treatment for women.

PREM 49/895 (PDF, 81.5 MB)


PREM 49/964
MINISTERS. Ministers’ conduct: part 10
30 March 1999 – 7 September 1999

This file is predominantly concerned with recommendations made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Lord Neill.

PREM 49/964 (PDF, 99.7 MB)


PREM 49/1018
PRIME MINISTER. Prime Minister’s meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott: part 1
16 May 1997 – 28 January 1999

This file is principally concerned with weekly bilateral meetings between the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and other correspondence and meetings between the two.

PREM 49/1018 (PDF, 84.4 MB)


PREM 49/1058
SOUTH AFRICA. UK/South Africa relations: internal situation; part 3
2 January 1999 – 5 January 1999

This file begins with a draft speech for the Prime Minister to deliver on his visit to South Africa, from 6 to 8 January 1999, reflecting on South Africa’s history and current international affairs.

PREM 49/1058 (PDF, 91.4 MB)

Access All Documents via National Archives Catalogue, “Discovery”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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