The right hon. Gentleman describes the offence as a catch-all, but the advice that I have had—I have sought advice on this—is that it is a catch-virtually-nothing-at-all. The Crown Prosecution Service has issued guidance saying that it should apply
“only where…the facts are so serious that the court’s sentencing powers would otherwise be inadequate”.
The House of Commons Library says:
“There are few prosecutions, suggesting that action is taken only when misconduct is particularly gross”.
And the courts have said:
“The threshold is a high one requiring conduct so far below acceptable standards as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder. A mistake, even a serious one, will not suffice”.
Is the right hon. Gentleman really adding anything at all to the Bill?