THE UK is on a path to a damaging hard Brexit because Remain voters have been left without strong representation, a new report warns.

Kirsty Hughes, Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER) director, said UK politics is failing because of the passive “wait and see” attitude from opposition politicians.

“Labour’s acceptance of Brexit has led to weak opposition to the slow, shambolic and damaging Brexit process, with Jeremy Corbyn mostly preferring to lead on domestic issues at Prime Minister’s questions each week,” she said. “Labour have now come out in support of staying in a customs union, but don’t support staying in the EU’s single market, so are not in a strong position to challenge Theresa May and her government over the economic damage a free trade deal will do.

“Consequently, the 48 per cent who voted Remain – or the 52 per cent who now support Remain in several polls – have little political voice or representation as the UK heads towards a major and damaging political, constitutional, economic and institutional upheaval that has little precedent.

“This is true even in the two parts of the UK that voted Remain – Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

The think tank’s new report brings together studies of the challenges created by leaving the EU.

It publishes analysis from 15 experts from Northern Ireland, Scotland and the EU who raise a host of concerns about the Brexit process, including the risks for devolution, the possibility of a “cliff-edge” exit, worries over human rights and the issue of the Irish border.

Hughes said: “As the process unfolds, the UK – and particularly England – has remained deeply divided over the question of proceeding with Brexit.

“Support for Remain has moved a little ahead in the polls over the last several months but not strongly enough for many passive and fearful politicians to argue to halt Brexit or to hold a further EU referendum.”

Hughes added that while the English and Welsh Greens and the Liberal Democrats are arguing for a referendum on the final deal, Nicola Sturgeon has not joined them, although she has said a vote could become irresistible.

Hughes said: “The path from here to an autumn withdrawal agreement is highly uncertain. Our new report makes clear the UK is on a path to a damaging hard Brexit. And without a deal on the Irish border, the divorce deal could fall apart – and the transition deal with it – so a cliff edge still looms.

“As trade talks start, unprecedented in putting new trade barriers in place, the UK could still change its mind and call a further EU referendum – Labour and the SNP for now are refusing to support this. UK politics is failing as it sticks to a passive ‘wait and see’ mode of opposition. The time to halt Brexit, or even push it to a ‘softer’ Brexit, is running out.”