TORY moves to shore up support for the Union show the party is “preparing for a referendum” that they know is unavoidable, the SNP have said.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior Tories are engaged in ongoing discussions of how to combat independence support.

Among them is Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg’s idea to see the House of Commons sit in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments for a fortnight every year. MPs would gather in Holyrood, the Senedd or Stormont with the location changing each year. This would happen in September, when the Commons returns from summer recess.

A source said this idea would “bring Parliament closer to the people”. There are concerns over the costs and Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is not convinced by the idea.

On a practical level there are 650 MPs and devolved parliaments would struggle to accommodate them all.

READ MORE: SNP slam Jacob Rees-Mogg for plan to have Westminster MPs sit in Holyrood

The devolved administrations’ consent would be required to set up the system, which seems unlikely given the struggling relationships on show currently.

The SNP’s longest-serving MP, Pete Wishart, said the idea showed that the Tories’ arrogance “literally knows no bounds” due to the Scottish Parliament sitting in September.

He said: “Not content with taking away powers and funding from the Scottish Parliament, Rees-Mogg and the Westminster Tories are now setting their sights on taking over the building itself – even though MSPs will be sitting.

“The idea is not only utterly laughable but it demonstrates just how out of touch the Tories are – their arrogance when it comes to Scotland literally knows no bounds.”

The idea is just one of the many proposals for preserving the Union which the Tories are taking into active consideration.

When Michael Gove and Alister Jack want to talk through ideas to prevent Scottish independence, they do so over a cigarette “literally by the bike sheds”, a source told The Telegraph.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “The fact that the Prime Minister and his Tory colleagues are clearly spending so much time discussing how they can combat support for independence shows they are preparing for a referendum they know is inevitable in the face of a Holyrood majority for one.

“Bluntly, they wouldn’t be spending so much time on the issue if they thought their Trump-like bid to defy democracy could hold.”

READ MORE: Cabinet Office to be set up in Glasgow to fight Scottish independence

It is understood Downing Street’s current short-term plan revolves around arguing now isn’t the time for another referendum given the ongoing public health crisis.

The UK’s Cabinet Office will also be setting up a second headquarters in Glasgow in further efforts to strengthen the Union.

Gove, the current Minister for the Cabinet Office, will be visiting the city next week as part of the plan to reinforce the UK Government’s “commitment” to Scotland.

According to reports in the Financial Times (FT), a letter sent by Alex Chisholm, Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office, said that at least 500 officials would move to an office in Scotland’s largest city by 2024.

One source told FT that the proposal would “bring the engine room of the UK Government to Scotland”.

Glasgow was reportedly chosen over York as it would do more to combat support for independence.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss quipped that “that’s an awful lot of staff for an embassy”.

Chisholm’s letter says: “As a department with a key responsibility for the Union, it is particularly appropriate that we move to strengthen our presence and commitment in Scotland.”

It is the most recent in a series of moves to decentralise the UK Government, with other ministries planning to move officials to Darlington, Wolverhampton, and Manchester.

It is hoped the moves will inject cash into areas outside London and bring different perspectives to policy.

Amy Leversidge, assistant general secretary of the FDA union that represents senior civil servants, backed the Cabinet Office move to Glasgow but told FT that if there was no ministerial presence in the city then all decision-making would continue to be centralised.

She said: “While the Cabinet Office have confirmed that there will be senior civil servant roles based in Glasgow, they have only committed that ministers will ‘spend regular time’ there. This isn’t good enough.

“There must also be a ministerial presence in Glasgow, otherwise all the decision-making will continue to be in London and this will act like a gravitational pull for the senior civil servants to be pulled back there too.”

READ MORE: Revealed: How the UK Government is preparing to stop an independence referendum

The longer-term messaging of the Tories is on the lack of “clarity” from the SNP on what independence means for the Border, pensions and a future currency.

There is also talk of creating a “trade and investment hub” in Edinburgh to employ 60 staff in the next few years. The International Trade Secretary would like to announce new trade deals from the location to push the idea the UK is delivering investment to Scotland.

There has also been speculation over who the leading figures in a future referendum campaign would be – but it seems Westminster doesn’t want to set up a Better Together 2.0 for fear it would suggest a new vote is on its way.

Ministers believe pro-UK bodies like These Islands, Scotland Can and Scotland in Union can lead in this area, with more groups reportedly due to be set up in the summer.

In the future it seems Johnson would not be the central figure in an anti-independence campaign. He is seen as “toxic” by many in Scotland. One Scottish Labour figure said: “If you were in an SNP laboratory designing a perfect opponent you would come up with something like Johnson."