He says WTO rules "require checks at the border"

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer has admitted that a hard border on the island of Ireland is likely in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Philip Hammond said that WTO rules would "require checks at the border."

He said: "The challenges around the Irish border are around the legal requirements we will have if we are not in a trade block within the European Union to operate the WTO compliant border, which does require checks at the border.

"That's what the WTO rules require."

It's the first time a senior British government minister has admitted a hard border may have to be imposed.

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking at the British Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham, England | Image: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

Addressing the Tory conference earlier, Mr Hammond insisted that Mrs May's Chequers Plan for Brexit would prevent a hard border.

"A plan which delivers on the decision of the British people; avoids a hard border in Ireland; preserves our precious Union and safeguards British jobs and British businesses".

Mrs May has consistently said there would be no hard border on the island of Ireland.

Speaking in July, she said: "Daily journeys will continue to be seamless and there will be no checks or infrastructure at the border to get in the way of this.

"I've also been clear we will not accept the imposition of any border down the Irish Sea and we will preserve the integrity of the UK’s internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it."