John Bercow has been accused of a cover up, after a Conservative MP claimed he informed the Speaker of the House about Keith Vaz's "sexual impropriety" a year ago.

Speaking in the Sun on Sunday, the Andrew Bridgen, MP for north-west Leicestershire, claimed he blew the whistle but Bercow "brushed off" the allegations and did not take action.

Bridgen said the information he shared with Bercow was serious enough that it would have represented a clear "conflict of interest" to Vaz's position as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

"I was aware for some time of various allegations against Keith Vaz but was in no position to judge whether they had any basis in fact," he said. "I felt forced to write to the Speaker because I believed the situation risked bringing the House of Commons into serious disrepute."

However, Bercow allegedly replied that he had no power to act and asked Bridgen, who chairs parliament's Regulatory Reform Committee, to keep quiet.

"To the casual observer these events had all the hallmarks of an establishment cover-up," Bridgen told the Sun. "I became convinced a long time ago that Mr Vaz was not a fit person to be a member of parliament – what I have seen over the last week has only confirmed that view."

However, Bercow has refuted claims that he was trying to protect Vaz, insisting he acted correctly.

A spokesman for the former Conservative MP said: "This is not a matter for the Speaker. It would be both wholly unprecedented and completely inappropriate for the Speaker, or indeed anyone else, to intervene in such a scenario."

Keith Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East stepped down on Tuesday (6 September) from his role as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee following allegations he paid for the services of two male escorts.

Vaz came under pressure to step down following allegations made by the Sunday Mirror.

John Bercow
The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow denied claims he was involved in a cover up. REUTERS/UK Parliament