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Lord Longford's life, spanning the 20th century, has seen this much satirized peer intimately involved in the shaping of post-war Britain, Stanford argues. Though best known today for his anti-pornography crusade, as the father of a very public family, and Myra Hindley's only friend, Lord Longford also has a significant history in politics.
He was British Minister for Reconciliation with Germany in the immediate post-war years under Clement Attlee, and his enduring friendship with Hugh Gaitskill put him at the centre of Labour Party politics for two decades, and was in Harold Wilson's cabinets in the 1960s. In this authorised biography, Stanford argues that the true significance of Lord Longford - as a politician, a moralist and a penal reformer - has been obscured by the unpopular campaigns he has taken on in his retirement.
Despite his aristocratic background, Eton and Oxford education, and rich and powerful friends, Stanford claims that he remains a thorn in the side of the establishment - one of their own who turned his back on his Protestant aristocratic upbringing to become a Catholic socialist, a lone crusader who refused to conform even when a cabinet minister, and a self-proclaimed eccentric in the public eye.