Victory follows arm-twisting and cajoling
A victory, say Gordon Brown allies, is a victory. The prime minister, they say, ignored warnings that he'd lose the vote, he stuck to his principles and he did what he believed was right.
It was though a nine vote victory delivered thanks to nine unionist votes and was a victory that came at a price.
Ministers and the DUP insist that no deals were done but Unionist MPs grin widely when asked about future financial help for the province.
Labour MPs meeting in the Commons tearoom asked each other "What have you been offered by Gordon?" Some have been told about a relaxation of sanctions against Cuba, others about improved support for sick miners.
Talking of the sick, one Labour MP fighting cancer was asked to leave his hospital bed to vote with the government. Another was wheeled in to the building in a wheelchair after an operation.
So, Gordon Brown did win but he could not do so with the votes of his party alone - even after all the wooing, the arm twisting and the cajoling
It was not the victory he would have wanted.