Interim Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Vic Fedeli announced Friday morning that Patrick Brown has been removed from the PC caucus.
“Shortly after becoming Interim Leader, I asked Patrick Brown to step aside from the PC Caucus,” Fedeli said in a statement. “The legislature is set to resume sitting on Tuesday February 20th following Family Day. Earlier today, Mr. Brown was notified that he has been removed from the PC Caucus effective immediately.”
WATCH: Patrick Brown arrives at PC headquarters on Friday amid reports he will be entering the leadership race
Global News reached out to Brown for comment did not immediately receive a response.
With Ontario MPPs set to return to Queen’s Park on Feb. 20, the 39-year-old from Barrie will have to sit as an independent. Fedeli has previously said he will not sign Brown’s nomination
papers as a candidate if the allegations against him still stood before the June provincial election.
Conservative leadership candidates Caroline Mulroney and Christine Elliott also said during a leadership debate on Thursday that Brown should be allowed to run for the party in the upcoming election, while Doug Ford said he would revisit the issue if he was elected leader. Tanya Granic Allen strongly objected to the idea.
Global News reached out to party president Jag Badwal for comment but have not yet received a response.
Fedeli’s shocking announcement on Friday also follows newly obtained audio by Global News that reveals the former leader appearing to contradict statements he made earlier this week in which he stated his resignation letter was drafted without his knowledge.
The recordings of Brown speaking with Tory MPPs late Jan. 24, appear to indicate he prepared his resignation letter with his director of communications, Rebecca Thompson.
“I’ve asked Rebecca to prepare a statement that I will resign,” he said. “And I’ve asked her to figure out at what point tomorrow that is set, and she has drafted a statement while you guys were on the call, and she can read it to you if you want to hear what we’ve put together so far.”
Earlier this week, Brown told Global News his resignation letter was sent without his permission and he did not see a draft of the statement. Global News revealed new details about the alleged incidents that appeared to contradict parts of the original allegations.
“The resignation letter was actually sent out on my behalf without my permission at the time,” he told Global News. “I thought I would have been shown the email or a draft of what was being prepared, and then I found that it was all done.”
“I never even saw the statement that was sent out,” he said. “I understood that they were drafting a copy of the resignation. I was shocked when I found out that it was sent out without even an opportunity to see it.”
Brown has been trying to clear his name since he resigned in late January following allegations of sexual assault, which he has called “absolute lies.” He also said he intends to sue CTV, while the network has said it stands by its reporting and will defend against any legal action.
Brown told Global News he believes the allegations against him were instigated by his “political adversaries,” either inside or outside his party.
“I have a number of political adversaries and so there’s a number of people who would benefit from what happened and I hope that in the course of the investigation, we’ll be able to expose who was involved in this,” Brown said.