David Trimble was named Parliamentarian of the Year at the annual Zurich/Spectator Awards in London yesterday.
Northern Ireland's First Minister received the award before flying to the United States.
Boris Johnson, MP for Henley and editor of The Spectator, said of the Ulster Unionist: "It seems extraordinary that the judges have not previously recognised David Trimble's achievements. He has not only played a huge and distinguished part in what we are now entitled to call the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, he has been a most assiduous parliamentarian who, by making major announcements in the chamber, puts others to shame."
Mr Trimble said: "I really do appreciate this award from The Spectator and Zurich.
"Parliamentarian of the Year, judged by the columnists and political editors who are on the panel, is indeed a very rare honour and when I look at the names on this trophy it is quite humbling to consider my own name alongside them."
Last year's winners were the former Labour MP Tony Benn and Sir Edward Heath Prime Minister from 1970-74. The honours, now in their 18th year, included a special award to Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, for her "unflagging" zeal.
The guest of honour at the award ceremony was David Blunkett, the Home Secretary.Reuse content