Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Patrick Brown stepped down as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives amid allegations of sexual misconduct by two young women.
This decision came as a shock, as hours earlier Brown called reporters to a press conference to vehemently deny the allegations, and to say he will not be resigning.
“I want to say: These allegations are false. Every one of them,” he said to reporters at the 9 p.m. press conference. “I will defend myself as hard as I can, with all the means at my disposal…I know that the court of public opinion moves fast. I have instructed my attorneys to ensure that these allegations are addressed where they should be: in a court of law.”
Following this statement, Brown’s top three staff campaigners quit. An emergency caucus meeting saw a number of Member’s of Provincial Parliament call for his resignation. Ontario PC deputy leaders Sylvia Jones and Steve Clark released a statement on Twitter, saying that “In the interest of the Ontario PC Party we unanimously agree that Mr. Brown cannot continue serving as the Leader. Mr. Brown is entitled to a legal defense and due process, but he cannot lead us into an election as a result of these allegations.
“The Ontario PC Party unequivocally upholds the principle that a safe and respectful society is what we expect and deserve. We need to move forward to eradicate sexual violence and harassment across the province.”
Brown will still sit as a MPP while he fights these allegations.
More to come.