The controversy-plagued former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown has ended his campaign to once again seek the leadership position of the party.
The president of the Progressive Conservatives Jag Badwal and the leadership election organization committee received a letter from Brown announcing his withdrawal from the leadership race he triggered.
Brown meanwhile continues to “vehemently” deny allegations involving sexual assault claims against teenage girls that brought him down.
In a four-page statement posted on Twitter shortly after the news he had dropped out of contention, Brown listed three key reasons for this decision, including a desire to focus on his case against CTV News, freeing up the PCs to focus on defeating the Liberals and protecting his family and friends.
“While I am discontinuing the pursuit of my goal to lead this great and proud party into government as our next premier, I remain steadfast in my love for Ontario and Canada,” the statement read.
Interim leader Vic Fedeli applauded Brown, saying in a statement obtained by CBC Toronto: “I want to thank Patrick Brown for making the right decision for himself and the Ontario PC party. He is right to focus on clearing his name.”
Caroline Mulroney, who is among four candidates vying for the Tory’s top spot, echoed this, saying he made the right decision for the party.
The 39-year-old MPP, who currently represents Simcoe North, shocked party insiders and political observers alike when he registered to run in the party’s snap leadership race just hours before the deadline to do so expired.
His registration in the leadership race ignited a fractious internal battle between his grassroots supporters, caucus allies and the party’s top brass.
While Brown has maintained that he has substantial grassroots support, his short-lived campaign was plagued by scandals that have roiled the PCs just months before they challenge Wynne.
On Monday, Brown explained in a statement that his participation in the PC leadership race has “become a source of distraction from the real goal of replacing” the Liberals.
The complaint questions how Brown could afford the mortgage on his $2.3-million house, alleging Brown violated the rules for MPPs by failing to declare all his sources of income.
Hillier also questioned how Brown paid for overseas trips, including travel with his girlfriend, who was a Queen’s Park intern at the time. In his complaint, Hillier suggested some business people may have covered trip costs.
Patrick Brown says he is committed to clearing his name. – CINEWS