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British Prime Minister Theresa May sits in the audience with her husband Philip May during the annual Conservative Party Conference on Sept. 30, 2018, in Birmingham, England.Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May faced open opposition to her Brexit strategy on Sunday as hundreds of fellow Conservative Party members joined a boisterous rally to denounce her plan.

The rally came at the start of the Conservative Party’s annual four-day conference in Birmingham, where Brexit and Ms. May’s future have dominated discussions. The party has been deeply divided over Ms. May’s Brexit strategy, which calls for the country to essentially remain within the EU’s single market for trade in goods, but not services. That has infuriated hard-Brexit backers who see her plan as a betrayal of the 2016 referendum in which the country voted to leave the EU. They want Britain to cut all ties to the EU and then negotiate a trade deal similar to the Canada-EU agreement.

More than 300 party members crammed into an auditorium to listen to several speakers, including a group of Tory MPs, denounce Ms. May’s plan, which is called Chequers because it was hatched in July at the Prime Minister’s country retreat. The meeting was so popular that several hundred members had to be turned away because there were not enough seats.

“Chequers is an unmitigated disaster,” Ross Thomson, a Tory MP from Scotland, said to loud applause. “It has humiliated us … now is the time to chuck Chequers.” Priti Patel, a Tory MP and former cabinet minister, told the cheering crowd: “We have yet to win Brexit. Too many on our [EU] negotiating team lack belief in our country.”

Ms. May has been insisting for weeks that Chequers is the best option for the country and that if it fails Britain will leave the EU next March without an agreement governing the future relationship, including trade. “I believe that the plan that we have put forward is a plan that is in the national interest,” she told the BBC on Sunday. "This is a plan which ensures we deliver on the vote of the British people.”

Other cabinet ministers also lined up to back the Prime Minister, telling the conference that Chequers represented the only viable option for Britain. “We must stop re-fighting the referendum,” Trade Minister Liam Fox told members. He and others have also rejected the Canada-style trade deal option because it would create a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, something Ms. May wants to avoid because it would violate the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of sectarian violence.

But Ms. May is running out of time and opposition to Chequers is building. Britain leaves the EU in six months and she has just a few weeks to negotiate a withdrawal deal with the EU. Any deal she reaches must also be approved by the British Parliament, which looks doubtful given the rising Tory opposition to Chequers.

Her comments Sunday did little to ease the anger within the party over Chequers. Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who led the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum, called her strategy “deranged” and made his clearest indication yet that he is considering challenging her leadership. “Unlike the Prime Minister, I campaigned for Brexit,” he told the Sunday Times newspaper. “Unlike the Prime Minister, I fought for this, I believe in it, I think it’s the right thing for our country and I think that what is happening now is, alas, not what people were promised in 2016.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory MP who has led the opposition to Ms. May’s strategy, said Sunday that the Chequers plan has no chance of winning support in the House of Commons. “It is not only a dying duck in a thunderstorm, it is the deadest of dying ducks,” he told the rally. Chequers is “not leaving the European Union. It is simply remaining under the yoke of the European Union.”

After the meeting, Mr. Rees-Mogg told The Globe and Mail that he didn’t favour replacing Ms. May, saying that she still has a lot of support among members. And he said that if she was forced to drop Chequers, she could effectively guide the country out of the EU and base Britain’s trade on World Trade Organization rules. “She’s very resilient and dutiful. And if her duty was to deliver a World Trade Organization departure, I think she’d do that,” he said.

But other party members weren’t so sure about her future. Peter Shearsmith, a retired businessman from Worcestershire, said Ms. May has about 10 days to change her mind on Chequers or she’ll be dumped as leader. “If she is going to stick her head in the sand and say I’m sticking with Chequers, I think she’s a gonner," he said.

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