Update: Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown
says he is stepping down amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
His decision comes just hours after he “categorically” denied “troubling allegations” about his conduct.
Brown said that after consulting with caucus, friends and family, he has “decided to step down as leader” but will remain on as a MPP while clearing his name.
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says he “categorically” denies “troubling allegations” about his conduct.
A visibly emotional Brown said he was made aware of the allegations earlier on Wednesday, but he did not provide details on what those allegations are.
CTV News tweeted that two women have come forward with graphic sexual misconduct allegations against Brown.
The broadcaster said the allegations date back to when Brown was a federal MP.
The Opposition leader called a late-night news conference to make a brief statement and then left the legislature without answering any questions.
Several members of Brown’s staff have already resigned including his Chief of Staff, Campaign Manager and Press Secretary.
This evening I learned of allegations against Patrick Brown. As a result, it is in the best interest of the PC Party that he step down immediately.
As he has chosen to follow a different route, I am resigning as the PC Party Press Secretary.
— Nick Bergamini (@nickbergamini) January 25, 2018
The 39-year old won the leadership of the Ontario PC Party in May of 2015.
He had previously served as the Conservative Party MP for the Ontario riding of Barrie from 2006 to 2015.
Leader of the Opposition and Federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer is attending a caucus meeting in Victoria on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the upcoming parliamentary session.
In a statement, Scheer said “Sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment have no place in Canadian society, especially within our political system. I understand how difficult it can be for women to come forward under these circumstances. The allegations against the Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are extremely serious and should be investigated fully”
Voters in Ontario are scheduled to head to the polls in a provincial election in early June.
With files from Canadian Press