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Released papers reveal "hit-list" of 75 mines

Newly released papers from Margaret Thatcher's time at Number 10 have shown she may have planned to close over 70 pits.

The documents reveal that 75 pits were being considered for closure Credit: National Archives

The secret "hit-list" means that the government may have been looking at a further 50 closures than the 20 that were talked about by the government and National Coal Board.

The document reveals they wanted to close the mines over a three year period.

Arthur Scargill, then leader of the Yorkshire National Union of Miners, had always claimed the government were planning to close more mines than were being discussed publicly.

Margaret Thatcher's cost of keeping up appearances

As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher's immaculately coiffed blonde locks were as much a part of her image as her famous handbag - and newly-released government files show just how much time she spent keeping up appearances.

US President Ronald Reagan talking to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Credit: Press Association

Her appointments diary for 1984, released by the National Archives, show that she had 118 hair appointments in the space of 12 months.

In June, when she was hosting world leaders at an economic summit in London she had hair appointments on five consecutive days.

The diary also confirms her reputation as a workaholic who found it difficult to relax.

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Ministers believed Russian funds were being sent to miners

Mikhail Gorbachev was the Russian leader during the miners' strike Credit: Press Association

Margaret Thatcher's government was desperate to stop cash from the Soviet Union reaching the striking coal miners, according to newly-released Government papers.

Official files from 1984 released by the National Archives show ministers believed hundreds of thousands of pounds were being channelled to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) from Moscow.

But even though the union's assets had been sequestered by the courts after its president, Arthur Scargill, refused to allow it to pay a £200,000 fine for contempt, officials admitted there was little they could do to stop the flow of roubles.

Thatcher and Gorbachev meeting in 1984 Credit: Press Association

Mrs Thatcher was told the best they could hope for was that a NUM courier might be picked up by Customs trying to enter the country with "a suitcase full of bank notes".

Minsters were alerted by MI5 to the Soviet financial lifeline for the miners in early November 1984. A few days later the Soviet news agency TASS reported publicly that £500,000 had been raised to support the strike.

Although the money was supposed to have been donated by Russian miners, the Government had little doubt that the funds could only have been transferred abroad with the approval of the Soviet authorities.

Thatcher considered calling in troops during miners' strike

Thatcher secretly considered calling in the troops during the miners' strike Credit: Press Association

Margaret Thatcher secretly considered calling out the troops at the height of the miners' strike amid fears union action could destroy her Conservative government, according to newly released files.

Government papers from 1984, released by the National Archives, show ministers were so concerned at the outbreak of a national docks strike while the miners were still out, they considered declaring a state of emergency.

Plans were drawn up for thousands of service personnel to commandeer trucks to move vital supplies of food and coal around the country.

It was probably the closest Mrs Thatcher came to defeat in her battle with the miners but the scheme was never implemented after the dockers' action petered out after less than two weeks.

The epic, 12-month confrontation between the Conservative government and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and its left-wing president Arthur Scargill was one of the defining episodes of the Thatcher era.

It saw some of the worst industrial violence the country had witnessed, with hundreds injured in brutal picket line clashes between police and miners, and ended in crushing defeat for the NUM.

Thatcher considered "calling in the troops"

Margaret Thatcher Credit: PA/PA Wire

Newly-released Government files reveal that Margaret Thatcher considered calling in the troops at the height of the miners' strike - and was desperate to stop cash from the Soviet Union reaching the striking coal miners.

The late Prime Minister feared union action could destroy her Conservative government. Papers from 1984, released by the National Archives, show ministers were so concerned at the outbreak of a national docks strike when the miners were still out, they considered declaring a state of emergency.

A Bank Holiday named after Margaret Thatcher?

The thorny issue of should the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have a bank holiday named in her honour headed back to the Commons today. The Iron Lady died earlier this year but her passing stirred up mixed emotions in this part of the world.

Baroness Thatcher is seen by many as the head of a government which destroyed many mining communities.Chris Kiddey reports.

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Margaret Thatcher Day Bill - second reading

The campaign for the annual Bank Holiday Monday in late August to be known as Margaret Thatcher Day will be debated in Parliament again this afternoon.

The Bill is sponsored by Conservative MP Peter Bone. The Wellingborough MP was a staunch supporter of Baroness Thatcher who was brought up as Margaret Roberts in Grantham.

She was the first and so far only female British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and Conservative Party leader from 1975.

Thatcher statue plans at "exciting stage"

The Chairman of Grantham Museum is encouraging people to have their say on plans for a statue of controversial former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Artists Impressions go on display at the museum and online (click here) today.

The Margaret Thatcher Statue Project has been aiming to raise £200,000 to pay for it since March this year, a month before the Grantham-born politician died.

“It’s a hugely exciting stage in the project and one that we couldn’t have achieved without support from the local community and further a?eld. The opportunity for Grantham to embrace it’s rich heritage and exploit it for the good of the town is something that should be welcomed.”

– Helen Goral, Chairman of Grantham Museum

Thatcher statue plans on show

The drawings will be available to view within the Museum and online from today. Credit: Grantham Museum

Artists impressions of a statue in Lincolnshire of the controversial former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, have been released. Grantham Museum is trying to rise two hundred thousands pounds to pay for it.

Members of the public are being asked to comment on which type of design they prefer. Credit: Grantham Museum
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