Canada: The leader of Ontario's official opposition stepped down from his post early Thursday morning amid pressure from his party, while continuing to deny allegations of sexual misconduct that broadcaster CTV News reported were made by two women.
"These allegations are false and have been difficult to hear," Patrick Brown said in a statement on the Ontario Progressive Conservative website. "However, defeating Kathleen Wynne in 2018 is more important than one individual."
Brown was set to face off against Wynne, Ontario's Liberal Premier, in a June election in the Canadian province. His Progressive Conservative party has so far led in the polls.
The party's deputy leaders said in a separate statement that while Brown was entitled to legal defense and due process, "he cannot lead us into an election as a result of these allegations."
The departure came just hours after Brown vigorously defended himself in a press conference held minutes before CTV aired the report in its evening newscast. At that time he said he would report to work on Thursday.
Brown said that he will stay on in his role as lawmaker in the Ontario legislature while working to clear his name "from these false allegations."