He was instrumental in putting the industry's point of view to cabinet ministers, and particularly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the run up to each Budget. He also campaigned strongly for road safety initiatives. British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association secretary general Norman Donkin said: 'His presence will be sadly missed by the industry and by his colleagues.'
Mills, who was found dead in his London flat, was MP for Meriden in the heart of the West Midlands motor manufacturing region. He was elected in 1979 and had a majority of 14,699 at the last election. His death pushed the Government into a Commons minority for the first time in almost 18 years fuelling the possibility of an early election.