OTTAWA -- Ontario Progressive Conservative party leadership candidate Christine Elliott says that if her predecessor can clear his name, he can run for the party in the next election.

Patrick Brown resigned as Ontario PC leader late last month after being accused of sexual misconduct in incidents dating back years.

In an interview published Saturday, he called the allegations "absolute lies" and said he is contemplating legal action.

Elliott was asked at a conservative conference underway in Ottawa whether Brown would have a political future in an Elliott-led PC party.

She says Brown has the right to defend himself and if he's able to clear his name, she'd have no problem with him as a candidate.

Elliott was the final of the three PC leadership candidates to address the annual Manning conference, but the only one to be asked directly about Brown by the moderator.

The Canadian Press has not verified the allegations against Brown, which were first published by CTV News.