UNIONIST think tank These Islands has appointed TV presenter Neil Oliver to its advisory council.

The group, chaired by entrepreneur Kevin Hague, announced the former National Trust for Scotland president had been appointed alongside Professor Katy Shaw.

Announcing the new members last night, Hague said: “Neil is a hugely respected archaeologist, writer and broadcaster who communicates his love for Britain with unmatched passion and eloquence. I am proud and excited to welcome them both on board.”

Hague added on Twitter that both Shaw and Oliver are “people who understand the power of an emotionally engaging narrative”.

READ MORE: Neil Oliver claims he is a 'lightning rod' in 'war' with independence supporters

Oliver was a high-profile No voter ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, which he described as a “hate fest”.

He has caused upset among independence supporters by describing the prospect of a new vote on Scotland’s future as a “cancerous presence”.

The Coast presenter said recently he feels he has been a “lightning rod for the nationalists because I spoke up in favour of the United Kingdom” and is in a “war of attrition” with independence supporters.

Speaking after his appointment to the These Islands advisory council, Oliver said: "I’ve been in contact with These Islands since more or less the beginning. Since the subject of breaking up the UK never seems to go away, I have accepted the necessity to become directly involved.

“The ethos and mission of These Islands overlaps neatly enough with my own view of the best future for all the inhabitants of the United Kingdom and from this point on I will stand with them."

READ MORE: Gerry Hassan: I attended a pro-Union These Islands event. Here's what happened

The group says the members of its advisory council are “wise heads with a wide variety of perspectives and experience”.

They say members are there “guide and challenge us, to stimulate and test our thinking, and to ensure we are intellectually and analytically rigorous in our approach”.

Other members of the advisory council include fashion designer Betty Jackson, television producer Trevor Phillips and former Labour MP Brian Wilson.

A These Islands conference in Newcastle earlier this year saw figures like Gordon Brown, Ayesha Hazarika, Andy Burnham and former Better Together head Blair McDougall attend.

The appointment of two new well-known figures comes as consecutive polls show majority support for Scottish independence.

The most recent surveys put support for ending the Union between 53% and 55% - it’s understood Downing Street has conducted its own polling which shows the figure is even higher.