So Boris has plumped for Uxbridge as his preferred route to Westminster ending speculation he might apply to fill the vacancy in Hertsmere.

The news will come as a disappointment to the borough’s Conservative association, which seemed enthralled by the prospect of a candidate of the Mayor of London’s pedigree being linked with the seat. 

That said, this is probably not the worst outcome for the people of Hertsmere. As entertaining as the former Have I Got News For You contestant is, he would clearly be using the seat as a staging post for his prime ministerial ambitions and may not be the most diligent standard bearer for his constituents.

Johnson’s decision does mean the contest to become the next MP of Hertsmere can now begin in earnest. Any serious candidates thinking of throwing their hat into the ring will have waited to see what move Boris was going to make first. Because wherever he went, the moment Johnson applied the selection would turn into a Boris coronation. 

Thus far the only candidate to publicly declare his interest is Hertsmere Borough Council leader Morris Bright. A few weeks back the Conservative councillor for Elstree made an effusive pitch to the party’s members in this paper, saying: "If it is felt, further down the line that I should put my name down (to stand) then I would deeply consider it because I love Hertsmere and I love my party".

Hardly the most subtle of political manoeuvrings, but we can count Morris as effectively in the race. Already we know there is a candidate in the fight with very strong local credentials.

Meanwhile the long list for the seat is yet to be finalised. And with a prize as alluring as an effective Westminster job for life for whichever Conservative candidate selected, it will fascinating to see if any other political big hitters apply to succeed James Clappison as the honourable member for Hertsmere. 

This is my last day as chief reporter of the Watford Observer, and therefore this is my last column for the paper.

I have enjoyed my time at this paper immensely and it has been a privilege and a pleasure chronicling the travails, triumphs and tragedies of people living in south west Hertfordshire.   
I would like to add that journalism is not an exact science. It is a fallible art carried out under exacting time pressures.

And every week the team here work extremely hard to tell our readers things they need to know about what is happening around them - often in the face of opposition from people who would rather such things remained untold.

It is not an easy task. We do not always get it right. But it is a worthy and necessary pursuit. 
George Orwell summed up what we try to do best when he said: "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations".

During my time here I also had the opportunity to see in the paper’s 150th anniversary. It was a reminder not only of the Watford Observer’s long and inky history, which stretches far back into south west Hertfordshire’s past, but also of its longstanding role as a watchdog for its readers.

That role is as important today as it was when the paper first rolled off the printing presses in 1863.

And I sincerely hope you will continue to lend this fine institution your support for many more years to come.