THERESA May recognises the damage a no-deal Brexit would cause the UK, but is struggling against members of her government intent on seeing the process completed, Mark Drakeford has said.

Speaking in the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr Drakeford said there was “an unmistakeable sense of crisis” around the Brexit negotiations, and pointed the finger firmly at Mrs May’s government.

MPs are due to vote on the controversial deal next Tuesday, but widespread opposition means it is unlikely to be approved. If this happens, a no-deal Brexit is almost inevitable.

Mr Drakeford said: “For what it is worth, when I have been with the prime minister, I believe that she does understand the damage that would be done to the United Kingdom from a no deal Brexit, and I think she has other members in her cabinet who equally share that analysis.

“Her problem is that she also has people around that very same table who don't share that view at all and who are sanguine about a no-deal Brexit.

“The idea that there will be some minor, temporary disruption and we'll all emerge, blinking, into the sunny uplands of a newly vibrant United Kingdom – I mean, it's nonsensical. We know it is.

“I think the prime minister knows it is, but her difficulty has been – and ultimately, I'm afraid, her political failure has been – to see off those people and to create a consensus with others who share her view and could have done a very different deal.”

Mr Drakeford, who acted as the Welsh Government’s Brexit minister before he was elected to succeed Carwyn Jones last month, also said he believed the UK Government had made “no attempt to build a cross-party consensus” for the withdrawal agreement.

“Through its own ineptitude, it has failed to secure an agreement capable of attracting sufficient support to secure a Parliamentary majority,” he said.

“As a result, only weeks away from leaving the European Union, the prospect of leaving without a deal is hardening, and this would be catastrophic for Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom.

“It is incredible that we are in this position, and it's completely unnecessary.”

He also called on businesses and public services which had not already begun preparations for a no-deal Brexit to do so immediately, and said the best alternative would be to seek an extension to the Article 50 process.