The following is a reader-submitted letter from this week's Gazette.

Whilst political leadership is absolutely key in a democracy, there is cause to wonder about the role of senior civil servants in advising on the mechanics of reaching a Brexit deal, "Crushing Defeat", Times Leader, January 16th.

Would not top public servants have said politicians need develop detailed interim steps to reach an agreement with Parliament and the EU at one and the same time?

That is two years ago, to set up a cross party body to meet three times a week in Parliament, to look at all the Brexit items in detail, then to consult with parliamentary representatives on an informal basis week by week over the two years. This as well as discuss the same with the EU on a weekly basis during the entire process?

So both sides are kept informed all of the time of the likely direction of travel in terms of what is realistic to be achieved and could be agreed.

Thereby, during the two years it is possible to reach substantial agreement with Parliament and with the EU on an on going basis so that at the end of the formal process the real deal is done?

This saves the current impossible conundrum whereby two years have gone by of fruitless negotiations with the EU as Parliament has rejected this at the eleventh hour.

There must have been some experienced negotiators within the civil service who could skilfully have steered a very complex process by reaching a series of consulted upon interim agreements towards the final agreement along the way.

Elizabeth Smith