Jones was the son of Owen and Ada Jones of Dyserth, Denbighshire. His wife, Lady Doreen Jones, is a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool. He has a son, Glyn, and daughter, Louise, and three grandchildren, Thomas, George and Ayesha. His daughter-in-law Mia Jones was a Liberal Democrat Councillor for Chester City Council and a candidate for Chester in the 2005 General Election.
Jones was brought into politics in 1966 when a proposed ring road threatened the demolition of his chandlery business' warehouse. He was elected to Liverpool City Council in 1968 and Liverpool Metropolitan District Council in 1973. He led the Liberal Party to control of Liverpool City Council in 1973. He served as Leader of the Council from 1981-83 and remained a member of the council until 1991. In 2003 he returned to public service when he was elected again to Liverpool City Council, serving until 2010.
Following his initial successes for the party in Liverpool, Jones took an interest in national politics. In 1972 he was elected President of the Liberal Party, serving a one-year term. During that year, he took a high profile in the parliamentary by-elections the party fought, overseeing four victories: Sutton and Cheam, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Ripon and Isle of Ely. At the February 1974 General Election he stood as Liberal candidate in Liverpool Toxteth and at the General Election later that year in October, he contested Gillingham. He was also heavily involved in the by-election win at Liverpool Edge Hill by David Alton in 1979 with a 36% swing.
He was knighted in 1981. Jones' favoured nickname was "Jones the Vote" in reference to his Welsh heritage.
He died on 8 September 2016 after suffering from cancer.