Holms was a partner in W. Holms Bros, spinners, of Glasgow.
He was elected Member of Parliament for Hackney in 1860, and served in the second Liberal administration of William Ewart Gladstone as a Junior Lord of the Treasury from 1880 to 1882 and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade from 1882 to 1885. When Hackney was divided into single-member constituencies in 1885 John stood for the Central division. He was defeated by his Conservative opponent by 193 votes. Just a few days later he was seriously injured in an accident on the London Underground and rendered an invalid for the remainder of his life.
He was also a Justice of the Peace for Lanarkshire, Middlesex and Westminster and a Deputy Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets. He was the author of military books including The British Army in 1875 and Our Military Difficulty.
- Works by or about John Holms at Internet Archive
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Holms
- Brief biography at portcullis.parliament.uk
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Hackney
1868 – 1885
With: Sir Charles Reed 1868–74
Henry Fawcett 1874–84
James Stuart 1884–85
Sir James Dalrymple-Horn-Elphinstone, Bt
| Junior Lord of the Treasury
With: Sir Arthur Hayter, Bt 1880–82
Charles Cecil Cotes 1880–82
Herbert Gladstone 1881–82
Charles Cecil Cotes
| Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Baron Henry de Worms