THE Electoral Commission could get to test the question for indyref2 after ministers indicated they were prepared to back down in a row with the watchdog.

The Scottish Government say the Yes/No question of 2014 works and should remain, but the Commission say they should be allowed to test it first – a view that was supported last week by the parliament’s cross party Constitution Committee.

Yesterday, MSPs backed the general principles of the Government’s framework Referendums Bill 65 to 55. It aims to establish rules for any future plebiscites and will ultimately pave the way for indyref2.

The Tories, Labour and LibDems all opposed the legislation claiming it was an attempt to rig that future independence vote.

READ MORE: Scottish ministers told to think again on Yes/No indyref2 question

Speaking in the debate, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said changes would be made to the Bill so that any future vote on constitutional issues would require the government to bring forward primary legislation.

He told MSPs: “I agree that normally a short Bill should be the way to trigger a referendum and for the avoidance of doubt I can confirm that any proposal for, for example, a Scottish independence referendum, should now require a short Bill.”

Russell said he would look at the issue of question testing again and “discuss his matter with the Electoral Commission”.

He said the question for the last referendum had since been used “on 58 opinion polls over the past five years”.

He added: “Polling evidence from Progress Scotland shows that the question is well recognised and regarded as fair.

“Moreover, 77% of respondents in a recent poll said they would be satisfied if it was asked again and only 10% disagreed.”

However, he said a question does have a “shelf-life” which, he suggested, “might be the duration of two parliaments”.

There has been a suggestion from some Unionist campaigners that instead of being asked Yes or No to independence, voters should be asked if they want to remain or leave the UK.

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins said any future vote required the “fullest public confidence”.

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He said: “Not only are the SNP trying to steamroller us into a second independence referendum, they are are trying to rig that referendum by playing fast and loose with the rules.”

He said the Electoral Commission should “never be bypassed”.

“Ministers have given no good reason for wanting to oust the jurisdiction of the Electoral Commission.

“It is nothing other than another ill-conceived power grab by a minister desperate for indyref2 and desperate to ensure that his side can campaign under flags and banners for Yes, as Nicola Sturgeon did in George Square at the weekend.”

Labour’s Alex Rowley questioned whether there was a need for what he described as the SNP’s indyref2 bill.

“Are the people in Scotland at this time demanding more referendums?”

He added: “I have to say my experience is that the people of Scotland are sick fed up of constitutional conflict. I am not sure that in Scotland at this time there is a demand for a Referendum Bill and certainly not until the current constitutional crisis created by the Tories and made even worse by the Tories is resolved.”

While Green MSP Patrick Harvie supported the legislation, he too urged the minister to trust the Electoral Commission. He also suggested the watchdog would be unlikely to make the indyref2 choices leave or remain.

He said: “Vote Leave and Leave.EU are distinct political brands which come pre-loaded with their political values.

“Both organisations and ‘leave’ as a political brand are permanently associated with their track record of anti-European attitudes, hostility to immigration and serious breaches of electoral law.”