Northern Ireland's Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris predicts that he will not see a border poll on the island of Ireland in his lifetime.

Heaton-Harris, speaking on GB News this week, said that a “whole host of factors” would trigger a border poll, as per the Good Friday Agreement.

“Essentially, whoever is Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is constantly weighing up whether there will be a majority of support for united Ireland," Heaton-Harris, who has been Secretary of State since September 2022, said.

"Northern Ireland Office is constantly polling, there's other people polling," Heaton-Harris said, "but there's societal factors.

"You're constantly talking to politicians and civil society, it generally is a whole host of things.

"And, to be quite frank, I can't see it in my lifetime."

He continued: “I think the conditions are good for there not to be a border poll for a very, very long time.”

He further said: “If you look at the latest polling in the Republic of Ireland about this - and people vote with both their hearts and their heads on these matters - I think we are a long way off that.”

Heaton-Harris was speaking on "Chopper's Political Podcast" on GB News the same week that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the UK would have a General Election on July 4.

Last week, Heaton-Harris announced that he will not be standing in the next election. 

In his letter to Sunak dated May 18, Heaton-Harris thanked him for reappointing him to the role of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, calling it "the best job in Cabinet."

He highlighted his work on the Windsor Framework, as well as the "Safeguarding the Union" command paper which helped lead to the return of Stormont.

He wrote to Sunak: "I strongly believe the conditions now exist for Northern Ireland to thrive, with privileged access for manufactured goods into the EU single market, whilst being an integral part of our UK internal market and being able to benefit from the international trade deals we negotiate; it finds itself in a remarkable favourable position - and as Northern Ireland thrives, our Union strengthens."

I started as a campaigner and I’ll be out campaigning for @Conservatives at the next election because we are the only party that has and can deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom.

Read more here 👇


— Chris Heaton-Harris MP (@chhcalling) May 18, 2024

Heaton-Harris was at Sunak's side in Belfast on Friday as the Prime Minister arrived in Northern Ireland as part of his General Election campaign.

"From Belfast to Bangor, I will never shy away from fighting for our vision and our values," Sunak captioned a photo, featuring Heaton-Harris, on social media on Friday.

From Belfast to Bangor, I will never shy away from fighting for our vision and our values.

Posted by Rishi Sunak on Friday, May 24, 2024

Meanwhile, Michelle O'Neill, the First Minister of Northern Ireland and the Vice President of Sinn Féin, the nationalist party which in 2022 became the largest party in Northern Ireland for the first time ever, took to social media on Friday encouraging people to vote for Sinn Féin in the upcoming elections.

"Let's seize the opportunity to return the strongest Sinn Féin team in Westminster this election," O'Neill said in her appeal.

Sinn Féin has a longstanding policy of abstaining from taking their seats in Westminster.

The Westminster election on 4th July is your opportunity to send a clear message, and vote for positive and progressive change.

Let’s seize the opportunity to return the strongest Sinn Féin team and keep moving forward to a new and better future.

On July 4th, Vótáil Sinn Féin…

— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) May 24, 2024

In March, Mary Lou McDonald, the President of Sinn Féin, told an audience in New York that she believes an Irish unity referendum will take place before the end of the decade and that Ireland and Northern Ireland will be united within her lifetime.