John Curtice, a Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, claimed Brexit was down to Britons' national identity.
Speaking at a conference Mr Curtice mapped out the failings of the European project in the UK.
He said: “The crucial failures of the European project in the UK – during the course of the past 40 years it remains the case that very few of us feel European.
“We don’t have that sense of identity.
John Curtice claimed Brits don't have a European sense of identity
“Only one in eight of us will choose European freely as one of our identities.
“Against that backdrop it clearly therefore is or always possible to raise the legitimacy of Brussels being able to tell us what to do.”
The professor claimed that if British people felt like they were part of the European project, then Brexit would have been less likely.
He added: “If we felt like we were part of that wider project then we would be willing to accept the idea that we were involved in the decision making process in which sovereignty was pulled.
Brexit debate in pictures: Farage blasted by EU boss Wed, April 5, 2017
The debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg will focus on key issues of the Brexit talks including reciprocal rights for EU citizens, the peace process in Northern Ireland and trade
AFP/Getty Images 1 of 20
Nigel Farage gestures during speeches at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France
Only one in eight of us will choose European freely as one of our identities
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
“If you don’t have that underlying sense of common identity that project is always likely to be vulnerable.”
During the lead up to the EU referendum last June, many Leave voters decided to exit the European Union in an attempt to give Britain more control of its laws and borders.
Mr Curtice claimed that this was such an issue due to Britons feeling they did not have a European identity.
He said: “Yes, that take back control thing which is mainly about taking back control on immigration, is about taking back control on our borders, controlling who can come here and it’s also about us being able to decide our own rules.
“People who tend to agree with one of those propositions, tend to be the kind of people who are keen on the other proposition as well.”