The row threatened to overshadow Mr Bercow’s departure from his role after nearly a decade.
Mr Bridgen, who made the original complaint to the Standards Committee, hit out at “the delays, the deflections and the confusion” that he claimed had held up publication of the report.
He accused the Speaker of failing to act in response to a letter he had sent in September 2015 raising concerns about Mr Vaz.
Mr Bercow hit back at Mr Bridgen, accusing him of “ignorant delusion” about the Speaker’s role.
Former Commons Speaker John Bercow
He added: “It is not for the chair to get involved in this sort of investigation or into claims that are made about individual Members of Parliament.
“It’s not for the Speaker to perform a second job as a sort of night-time Colombo looking matters that one members want to raise about another.”
In the heated exchange, Mr Bridgen said: “It’s clear to me and it will be clear to the public that to the fag end of your tenure in that chair you are defending the indefensible and your very close relationship with the member for Leicester East.
“The House can come to its own conclusions, the Standards Committee has come to its own conclusions, and Mr Speaker, the public will come to theirs.”
Mr Bercow said he was sure the public would come to their own conclusions, adding: “He can try to smear me, he will get the square root of nowhere.”
The Speaker admitted being “friendly” with Mr Vaz but pointed out he was also friends with Conservative former ministers Sir Christopher Chope and Sir David Lidington, before naming other MPs from different parties.
He went on: “I am friendly with a great many members having served in this place for 22 years, I do not get involved in matters appertaining to standards, there is a machinery for deliberation on those matters in the form of a parliamentary standards commissioner and a committee.”
“They deal with those matters.”
Mr Bercow said Mr Bridgen had appeared to contradict himself within minutes, adding: “I’m not trying to defend the conduct of the Member for Leicester East.
“What I’m doing on behalf of and in support of this House is defending colleagues, members of the public, the integrity of an independent process.
“If [Mr Bridgen] can’t or won’t grasp that fact, with the very greatest of respect to him or such respect as I can muster, that says more about him than it does about me.”
The Standards Committee found Mr Vaz had caused “significant damage” to the reputation of the House after he expressed a willingness to purchase cocaine for others during an encounter with male prostitutes.
The committee, the Commons disciplinary body, said his explanation that he may have been given a “spiked” drink and that he was suffering from amnesia was “not believable and, indeed, ludicrous”.
MPs endorsed the recommended suspension without a formal vote.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, below, also said the committee has asked him or the next person in his role to bring forward the necessary motion to ensure the suspension continues in the next Parliament and does not just last for the remainder of this session before the election.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said that Mr Vaz should now stand aside as the Labour candidate for Leicester East, the seat he has held since 1987.
“I think he should consider his position.
“I think he himself should agree not to be a candidate,” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“It has been a very sad issue, not just for him but for his family and his children.”
When it was put to her that Mr Vaz, who was chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee at the time of the incident, had not had the Labour whip withdrawn, she replied: “Not yet.”
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg
A statement on Mr Vaz’s website said that he was admitted to hospital on the day the committee’s report was published.
It said he had been receiving treatment for a “serious mental health condition” since details of the encounter were published in the Sunday Mirror in 2016.
Speaking as MPs debate the recommended suspension, Mr Rees-Mogg told the Commons: “The select committee has specifically asked that the next Leader of the House, or me if I continue in office in the new parliament, would bring the suspension forward as soon as the House reassembles so that it isn’t in effect only a two-day suspension – and that’s been specifically requested by the committee.”
Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley said that Mr Vaz’s suspension sentence should be doubled to a year.
Speaking about the statement that Mr Vaz has published on his website, He said: “I think someone who’s (written) that after the report comes out should have the suspension doubled to a year, and I say this – not a party point – he should not be nominated, if he’s nominated he should not be elected, and if elected he should be suspended for a very long time.”
Fellow Tory MP and member of the Standards Committee Sir Christopher Chope said: “Would it be reasonable if the right honourable gentleman is returned following the next General Election, for the Standards Committee to revisit this issue having regard to what’s on the website now?”
He continued: “It seems to me that what’s on the website is designed to bring the work of the Standards Committee into disrepute.”
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