John Mills is an entrepreneur, economist and political campaigner. He founded TV shopping retailer JML in 1986 and was Chairman of Vote Leave during the 2016 Referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
John founded TV shopping retailer JML in 1986. The company – known for introducing viral hits such as the Snuggie Blanket and the FastFit Ironing Board Cover to the UK – was one of the first retailers to launch a TV shopping channel and an e-commerce website. The company now turns over in excess of £100 million, sells more than 15 million products every year, and employs more than 250 people.
Outside of business, John Mills has held a number of high-profile political roles. A prominent voice during the 2016 EU Referendum, he served as both Chairman of Vote Leave and left-wing Brexit group Labour Leave. He had previously fronted the ‘No’ campaign during the 1975 EU Referendum before going on to found the Labour Euro-Safeguard Campaign (LESC) and Labour for a Referendum.
A lifelong supporter of the Labour Party and Councillor for Camden almost continuously from 1971-2006, he donated £1.6m to the Party in 2013.
During his tenure at Camden Council, he served in a number of appointments including Deputy Chairman of the London Docklands Corporation, Chair of the Housing Committee at the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and the London Boroughs Association, and Chair of both the Housing and Finance Committees of the London Borough of Camden.
As Chairman of the Finance Committee, John was responsible for managing Camden’s £800 million local government budget, and successfully returned the council during the 1990s to a spending surplus whilst protecting the most disadvantaged people in the area. The council was recognised as Council of the Year in 2003. John has also been a Parliamentary candidate twice, in 1974 and for the European Parliament in 1979.
As an economist, John Mills has been a Committee member of the Economic Research Council since 1997 and is now Vice-Chairman. He has published widely on monetary and fiscal policy. His books include:
• Tackling Britain’s False Economy (Macmillan 1997)
• Europe’s Economic Dilemma (Macmillan 1998)
• Managing the World Economy (Palgrave Macmillan 2000)
• A Critical History of Economics (Palgrave Macmillan 2002 and Beijing Commercial Press 2006)
John holds a Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree from Merton College, Oxford.