Some time in the early hours of Friday morning Lady Sylvia Hermon finally acknowledged her victory in the North Down election as she was returned to Westminster for the second time as an independent MP.
Despite a challenge this time from the DUP in the form of MLA Alex Easton, the academic with a specialist interest in constitutional law said she was “genuinely thrilled” to have held the trust of the electorate once again following her departure from the Ulster Unionist Party prior to the 2010 election.
This time around, the poll of 17,689 gave her 49.2 per cent of the vote as opposed to 63.3 per cent in 2010.
That was due in no small part to the 8,487 vote achieved by Mr Easton as the DUP returned to the fight and performed strongly.
His vote was, admittedly, down from the 11,324 polled by fellow MLA Peter Weir in 2005 but one party that undoubtedly gained from that drop was Alliance.
Traditionally a strong force at local level, their candidate this year, former North Down mayor Andrew Muir, was delighted with a vote of 3,086.
That compares favourably to the 1,876 achieved in 2010 by Stephen Farry.
Green Party MLA Steven Agnew appeared stoic at polling 1,958 though it was a reasonable step up from 1,043 in 2010.
Describing her tally at the declaration Lady Sylvia said: “I am thrilled and delighted because I’m the worrier.
“This is my fourth general election but I still worry that the votes are going to go all over the place and I am not going to be returned to do the job I absolutely love doing. I love serving the people of North Down.
“It’s been such a privilege, such an honour and I am so thrilled to be going back.”
Later, she acknowledged the apparent contradiction given the evidence of the previous previous three contests.
“I’m finally able to accept that I have won, yes,” she said.
“I know that surprises you but I never take anything for granted and honestly as each election has come, I have found myself even more nervous about the result than the previous time.”
Though her reception on the campaign trail had been warm and welcoming, she said it would be foolish to become complacent.
“The great thing about a democracy and the great thing about this country is the privacy and the secrecy of the ballot box and I never take anything for granted at all.
“For that reason I am hugely relieved and delighted.”
Looking forward to the next five years she said it was going to be interesting as the parties worked toward “inevitable” constitutional reforms.
“We have to address the consequences of devolution. I am a committed devolutionist but as a unionist I’m interested to know what the parties are going to propose that is a glue that holds the United Kingdom together.”
• Sylvia Hermon (Ind): 17,689 (49.2pc)
• Alex Easton (DUP): 8,487 (23.6pc)
• Andrew Muir (All): 3,086 (8.6pc)
• Stephen Agnew (Green): 1,958 (5.4pc)
• Mark Brotherston (Con): 1,593 (4.4pc)
• Jonny Lavery (Ukip ): 1,482 (3.3pc)
• William Cudworth (TUV): 686 (1.9pc)
• Tom Woolley (SDLP): 355 (1.0pc)
• Glenn Donnelly (CISTA): 338 (0.9pc)
• Therese McCartney (Sinn Fein): 273 (0.8pc)