Ousted Ontario opposition leader says will run to get job back

FILE PHOTO: Conservative Member of Parliament Patrick Brown speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 7, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

(Reuters) - The former leader of Ontario’s official opposition party, who resigned last month after accusations of sexual misconduct, said on Friday that he will contest an election in March that was scheduled to pick his replacement.

Patrick Brown stepped down as head of the center-right Progressive Conservatives after broadcaster CTV News reported that two women had accused him of sexual misconduct. He denies the allegations, which Reuters has not verified.

Whoever leads the Progressive Conservatives will spearhead their efforts to defeat Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her left-leaning Liberal party in a provincial election in June. The Progressive Conservatives have been leading in opinion polls.

Brown has said he will sue CTV over the story about the women’s allegations. CTV says it stands by its reporting.

“I think my name has been cleared and now it’s about getting Ontario back on track,” Brown told reporters on Friday, adding that he has filed papers to run in the Progressive Conservatives’ leadership election.

He joins a list of political heavyweights vying for the job, including Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; Christine Elliott, a provincial politician whose late husband Jim Flaherty was a federal finance minister; and Doug Ford, brother of late former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver and Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Daniel Wallis