RHODRI MORGAN will today attempt to head off an explosive party row over future powers for the National Assembly.
The First Minister will outline details of a full-scale party consultation in the wake of the Richard Commission's report into devolution.
Mr Morgan will not outline his own vision but will urge party members not to assume the path is already set.
In a keynote speech to the Progress conference in Cardiff, Mr Morgan will insist parity with Scotland, which has its own Parliament and tax varying powers, is not the only model for Wales.
His comments come against growing signs that Labour's simmering row over the Assembly's future will descend into open warfare.
The Richard Commission, chaired by Labour peer Ivor Richard, is due to deliver its report next February.
Welsh Labour has come under attack for not submitting its own proposals to Lord Richard, insisting it is up to the inquiry to make recommendations.
The First Minister wants to build party consensus amid worrying signs of a growing rift between some Labour AMs, intent on speeding up the devolution process, and a substantial rump of Welsh Labour MPs urging a go-slowly approach.
One Labour MP said, with the Assembly Government struggling to bring down waiting lists in Wales, a more cautious approach was needed to further powers.
He added, "There are clear differences within the party. The impression I get is the Richard Commission was very much a result of Labour's pact with the Liberal Democrats and at the moment there is very little enthusiasm for anything that departs radically from the current devolution settlement.
"I would think Rhodri would want to steer a middle course unless he is prepared to have a very, very big row within the party.
"The clear majority of Welsh Labour MPs think devolution must be able to work effectively before we look beyond that, although there is scope for looking at a limited and specific transfer of powers."
The Richard Commission is expected to recommend primary law making powers for the Assembly and an increase in the number of AMs from 60 to 80.
However, any recommendations made by the Commission would require legislation at Westminster and there are already fears some Welsh Labour MPs will seek to shelve the report.
Deputy Health Minister John Griffiths last week warned attempts to hold back the Assembly were "not sustainable" and called for a clear commitment in time for Labour's next General Election manifesto, expected in 2005.
Mr Morgan will tell the conference however that some of the fears surrounding the Richard Commission are based on myths.
He will say that wholesale devolution of primary law making powers would not necessarily lead to a reduction in the number of Welsh MPs at Westminster.
Similarly, strides forward in the devolution process would not automatically trigger another referendum in Wales.
And he will suggest parity with the Scottish Parliament by 2007, favoured by the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, is not the only way forward for Wales.