The Vatican has announced it is to investigate the sexual misconduct of the disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

Cardinal O’Brien, 75, resigned as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church in late February following accusations by several priests of inappropriate “sexual conduct”.

Earlier that week, it emerged that a fifth claim of “inappropriate behaviour” towards a male priest had been made against O’Brien.

Now the inquiry has been announced by the Vatican, which will be carried out by Maltese Bishop Charles Scicluna.

In March, O’Brien admitted that his “sexual conduct” had been “below the standards expected” of him.  A Vatican inquiry concluded in April – and no further action against Cardinal O’Brien was taken.

Cardinal O’Brien announced his departure from Scotland as part of a period of “spiritual renewal” in May.

In November 2012, Cardinal O’Brien was named ‘Bigot of the Year’ by Stonewall due to his staunch opposition to marriage equality.

In 2012, he stated that same-sex relationships were “harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing” and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.

Scicluna, Malta’s Auxilliary Bishop said in November that gay people do “not produce offspring” so do “not have a role in society”.

Bishop Scicluna, however in February stepped in to condemn a provocative letter written by zealous Catholic churchgoer Joe Zammit who claimed there can only be lust and not love between gay people.