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Patrick Brown speaks at a news conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday.

The former Ont. Progressive Conservative leader was in town Saturday to help open the campaign office of Mohammad Latif in Windsor-Tecusmeh.

However, in his statement Monday, he said that since joining the race it has become clear that he could not focus on winning while working to clear his name, calling his leadership campaign a distraction for both himself and his party's efforts to defeat Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

February 16: Interim Progressive Conservative leader Vic Fedeli says Brown has been kicked out of the caucus.

He is said to be preparing for the next leadership candidate's debate. The notice must be filed before a formal lawsuit can proceed.

However the PC leader, Patrick Brown, resigned suddenly on January 25 just hours after a news service reported allegations of sexual misconduct by two women, which date back to an earlier role as a federal Member of Parliament.

According to a statement, Brown says there are three reasons why he chose to withdraw: to "focus on holding CTV accountable", "focus on policy", and to protect his family and friends.

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The Simcoe North MPP, who now sits as an independent after being ejected from the Tory caucus, called on CTV to retract and apologize for "false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory" stories that accused him of improprieties involving inebriated teens while he was sober.

Brown said competing in the race would distract him "from continuing to expose the truth and holding CTV accountable for their willingness to allow the level of professional journalism to descend into the realm of tabloid gossip".

Brown explained to reporters in Windsor it was support from the likes of the local candidates that got him to enter the race to get his old job back.

"Political adversaries, collaborating with the media through an endless supply of rumours and innuendo, will stop at nothing to preserve their own self-interests as long as I am in the race", he said.

A source tells the Toronto Sun that Brown confided to his closest advisers on Sunday night that he was withdrawing from the leadership race.

Brown's departure could still be positive for the party as it prepares for the June 7 election, removing a controversial distraction, but the Tories are not out of the woods, said Lyle. However, Hillier has filed a complaint over Brown's personal finances with Ontario's Integrity Commissioner.

Online voting for the Tory leadership starts this Friday and continues until March 8 with the victor announced March 10 at the Hilton Markham Convention Centre on Warden Avenue in Markham.


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