In his first words as Conservative leader, Boris Johnson made no attempt to woo the DUP, even in some coded way.
His subdued short speech in response to the fulfilment of his life-long dream made no mention of the DUP, Northern Ireland or even the Union – let alone “our precious Union”, to which Theresa May would refer.
As a relatively brief response to victory, that does not in itself necessarily signal any great policy change.
But set alongside long-standing questions around Mr Johnson’s understanding of and commitment to the Union, it will have done nothing to reassure the DUP.
Although ostensibly the DUP was neutral in the contest, Arlene Foster’s red line of leaving the EU by October 31 appeared to show a firm preference for Mr Johnson, given that he was the only candidate to make that pledge.
And yesterday DUP MP Sammy Wilson said he was “pleased” that Mr Johnson had won.
But even though many in the DUP – particularly those who believe in Brexit – preferred Mr Johnson to Jeremy Hunt, there will be deep unease within the party as to the thought the victor now gives to Northern Ireland.
Dale Pankhurst, a councillor in Nigel Dodds’s North Belfast constituency, yesterday congratulated Mr Johnson but – in a sentiment which is shared by many DUP members and supporters – he added: “Please do not betray your principles or the unionists of Northern Ireland again. The Union must always come first.”
That alluded to the DUP’s concern at the ease with which Mr Johnson dispensed with his raucously received words to the DUP conference when he said that it would be unconscionable for any government to agree to a backstop which would make Northern Ireland “an economic semi-colony of the EU”, to just four months later announce that he would vote for precisely that backstop.
In the wake of that vote in March, Mr Dodds responded witheringly – although he did not specifically name Mr Johnson – by saying: “People have said they’re taking a position on points of principle and we’ve seen with the Tory leadership candidates that some of them can flip almost immediately, depending on what’s in their political interests.”
Since then, Mr Johnson has moved back to his original anti-backstop position. But if he was able to U-turn so rapidly on a promise made with such force and with such constitutional significance, it is difficult for the DUP to be confident about any of his commitments, even if for tactical reasons the party leadership does not express those concerns publicly at this point.
Speaking several months into the DUP-Tory relationship, one senior DUP MP said that they did not have a close relationship with Mr Johnson, who was then foreign secretary, a situation they contrasted with the then Brexit secretary, David Davis, who held regular discussions with them about the shape of Brexit policy as it related to Northern Ireland.
Some in the DUP came to believe that Theresa May gave too much credence to the warnings of potentially calamitous constitutional implications of a no-deal Brexit for Northern Ireland.
At this point, the concern of the DUP – and other Stormont parties – may be that Mr Johnson will not listen enough to any voices from Northern Ireland.