GORDON Brown is set to speak at a staunchly pro-Union jamboree in Newcastle as the race for indyref2 heats up.

The former prime minister will be the headline guest at a conference organised by the These Islands group, set up by blogger Kevin Hague.

Details of the event were announced over the weekend in an begging email sent to supporters.

The businessman made “a personal appeal” to help fund the conference or else he said, he would have to pay for it out of his own pocket.

In the message, Hague allied the Unionist cause in Scotland with the Unionism of Northern Ireland.

He told supporters: “With the SNP accelerating efforts to break up the United Kingdom in the wake of the General Election – and with increasingly vocal nationalist movements in Northern Ireland and Wales – the work we do has never been more important.

“But we can only keep going if we have the means to do so, and time is running out. We urgently need a shared, non-party-political view of the positive case for keeping the United Kingdom together; we need a ‘prospectus for the Union’.”

READ MORE: Just what rose-tinted world is Brown living in?

Hague said that much of the organisation’s work had been “below the surface”.

He claimed that in recent weeks These Islands had “been actively supporting journalists as they prepare to interview leading nationalist politicians”.

The businessman also revealed that future projects would involve looking “at the ways in which the school curriculum may be biased towards a particular historical and political narrative”.

The These Islands conference will be held in Newcastle in February with the “aim of bringing together the disparate voices defending the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

As well as Brown, Hague promised a “number of other high-profile names from across the political spectrum will be announced in due course”.

Last week Brown was criticised by Scotland’s most senior trade union leader, STUC general secretary Grahame Smith. Writing in the Scottish Left Review, Smith said Labour needed to consider independence.

He added that the Vow “cooked up by Gordon Brown” at the climax of the 2014 indyref campaign “may have contributed to the ‘No’ outcome but it hasn’t quelled demand for further constitutional change or support for the SNP (largely at Labour’s expense)”.

Meanwhile, the SNP’s 47 MPs are reportedly being told to spend less time at Westminster and more time in their constituencies talking to voters about independence.

READ MORE: Union leader urges Scottish Labour to reverse stance on indyref2

A senior SNP source told the Sunday Times: “The idea is still to take our Westminster responsibilities seriously.

“But we also want to do more building that conversation about what the new Scotland should look like — in constituencies and in conversation with civic Scotland and internationally with bodies like the EU and other countries as we build the case for Scotland to be an independent country and extend the hand of friendship.”

It came as splits emerged in the SNP over the timing of a second vote. Pete Wishart told the Sunday National that an independence referendum is “eminently winnable” in 2020.

Last week Kenny MacAskill, said the likelihood of a second referendum in the short-term is “slim” and “more likely, nil”.

Yesterday, the former SNP strategist Kevin Pringle said another referendum would be “unlikely this year”, and that the time “should be seen as an opportunity” for the SNP and wider Yes movement.

“It is a chance to build the arguments and support for independence in the new landscape of Brexit and an entrenched Tory Government at Westminster.

“It provides time to have a conversation with people in advance of the partisan heat and headlines that will come with a live campaign.”