What’s the politics behind the 30 year rule change?

What’s the politics behind the 30 year rule change?


Does Labour want Maggie’s records out before the election?

One little item that stood out for me in Brown’s constitutional statement is the plan to reduce the so-called “30 year rule” to twenty years.

This is the arrangement by which highly sensitive cabinet and other papers are made available for researchers to look at – but only thirty years after the events. So until now the latest documentation that we’ve seen has been of the Callaghan’s government in the period up to 1979.

The change, if it goes through, to 20 years could open up, before the election, the documentation for almost all the years when Mrs. Thatcher was PM. It would include what could be highly sensitive information about the Tory government’s handling miners’ strike that so dominated events for nearly two years. What was, for instance, behind the controversial police tactics?

There would also be further information available about the lead-up and the handling of the Falklands War in 1992 1982, the development of privatisations and issues like the massive clashes that led to Nigel Lawson resignation as chancellor.

Am I being cynical in thinking that there’s a strong political motive here? Does Labour think that reminding voters of the Thatcher era might just help the party’s chances?

Mike Smithson

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