Francis Aungier "Frank" Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, KG, PC (December 5, 1905 - August 3, 2001) was a politician, author, and social reformer.
The second son of the 5th Earl of Longford, he was educated at Eton and at the University of Oxford, where he met his future wife, Elizabeth Harman, and graduated with a First in Modern Greats.
At the age of 25, Pakenham joined the Conservative Research Department where he developed Education policy for the Conservative Party, but was soon convinced to become a socialist, partly by his future wife, whom he married on November 3, 1931. He embarked on a political career, serving as a junior minister in the Labour government of 1946-1951 and as a Cabinet member from 1964 to 1968. In 1945 he was created Baron Pakenham in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and in 1961 he inherited from his brother the Irish titles of Earl of Longford and Baron Longford and the UK title of Baron Silchester. Longford was created a Knight of the Garter in 1971. Over the years he gained a reputation as an eccentric, becoming known for his efforts to rehabilitate offenders and campaigning for the release from prison of the "Moors murderer", Myra Hindley.
Under the House Of Lords Act (1999) the majority of hereditary peers lost the privilege of a seat and right to vote in the House of Lords. Lord Longford, as the recipient of a hereditary peerage of first creation (from his creation as Baron Pakenham), was, along with many others in the same situation, made a life peer so that he could retain his seat in the Lords. He was thus created Baron Pakenham of Cowley.
He and his wife, who died in October 2002 at the age of 96, had eight children, among them the writers Antonia Fraser, Rachel Billington, and Thomas Pakenham.
- "Campaigner Lord Longford dies (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1472645.stm)" - BBC News article dated Friday, August 3, 2001
- "Lord Longford: Aristocratic moral crusader (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/430115.stm)" - BBC News obituary dated Friday, August 3, 2001
- "Tributes to humanist peer (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1472769.stm)" - BBC News article dated Friday, August 3, 2001
- Lord Longford (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/politicsobituaries/story/0,1441,563425,00.html) - Guardian obituary by Peter Stanford dated Monday, August 6, 2001