Released: The Thatcher 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.

Live updates

Full report: Secret papers reveal Thatcher's mixed North East legacy

The row over Margaret Thatcher's legacy in the North East was reignited today after it emerged that she had secretly planned to close 75 coal mines, while saying in public that only 20 would go.

The cabinet documents show that the Government intended to close half of all the North East's pits within three years, making tens of thousands of people redundant. The archives also show that she played a pivotal role in bringing 6,000 Nissan jobs to Wearside. Dan Ashby reports.

  1. Calendar

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.

Advertisement

Labour MP critical of Thatcher after files released

Two key industries of the North East play headline roles in confidential correspondence and cabinet papers that have been made public from Margaret Thatcher's time in office.

The records show that the then-Prime Minister guaranteed tax breaks for Nissan in return for their investment. However, the papers also reveal a plan to shut 75 coal mines over three years in the 1980s. At the time, the Government and the National Coal Board said they only wanted to close 20.

Ian Lavery, the Labour MP for Wansbeck, gave his reaction to ITV News Tyne Tees.

  1. National

Thatcher considered deploying troops in miners' strike

Margaret Thatcher considered calling on troops at the height of the miners' strike amid fears union action could destroy her government, according to newly-declassified files.

A Kent picketer clasps hands with a miner outside Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire. Credit: PA Archive

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 is thought to be the closest Mrs Thatcher came to defeat in her battle with the miners but the scheme was never implements after the dockers' action petered out after less than two weeks.

  1. National

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: PA

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.

Read: Libya had warned Foreign Office of 'embassy violence'

Back to top