THE final details have now been agreed for a series of General Election debates between the three main party leaders.

There is a danger that these will become a media circus, with the analysis featuring self-indulgent trivialities like the choice of tie worn by each man.

But I hope that they will also provide some revealing insights into the policies of the parties and the priorities of their leaders.

This is the first General Election since 1979 when all three parties will have a new leader who is untested in our ultimate democratic contest.

Seeing their strengths and weaknesses could be intriguing, although we should not forget that in Britain we elect individual Members of Parliament rather than party leaders.

Anyone who made their choice last time on the basis of a preference between Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy may wonder why they did not consider the merits of their winning constituency candidate who is still casting votes on their behalf in the House of Commons.

So it is appropriate that there will also be a series of debates in Taunton Deane between the local candidates.

These are being organised by a wide variety of organisations, and many of them will be open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Taunton Deane is always closely contested, so there will be a real choice to be made, with very few votes potentially determining the final outcome in our constituency.