PETER Hain has effectively ruled out a Scottish style parliament for Wales, insisting it will not wash at Westminster and would not automatically benefit the nation.
The Welsh Secretary said yesterday that the Scottish model was not the "be all and end all" of the devolution process and not a "panacea" for all problems.
And Mr Hain warned while he was open to a "persuasive case" for substantial devolution, he would not back change for "change's sake".
His comments come ahead of the publication of the Richard Commission report, due out next month.
Headed by Ivor Richard, the Commission was established by the Assembly Government to examine the case for greater powers, but Mr Hain has all but shut the door on the Scottish option before its publication.
"I do not favour a Scottish solution. I will be absolutely frank about that. So in my mind that is ruled out," he said. "If the Richard Commission recommends it, the Assembly wants it, the Assembly is willing to fight a referendum on it and can persuade my backbench colleagues and my Cabinet colleagues to back it, well, that's a different situation, but I rather doubt all those elements will come together.
"So we will have to look at something else and that something else will have to be very persuasive."
Mr Hain said Wales' economy was performing much better than Scotland's, its employment rates were higher and economic inactivity lower.
A poll this month in The Scotsman newspaper also revealed 75% of those questioned did not feel the Parliament had a "positive impact" on the country.
"This underlines the fact that Scottish type powers are not necessarily the be all and end all," Mr Hain said.
"Anyone who thinks constitutional reform beyond the existing settlement is a panacea, must look at Scotland."
Last November First Minister Rhodri Morgan called for the debate to be freed up from the "simplistic" choice between the status quo and the Scottish model.
His comments, combined with those of Mr Hain's, make a middle ground option along the lines of the Northern Ireland Assembly more likely.
That would see Westminster maintain power over issues like foreign policy and defence, but Wales gain primary law-making powers over areas such as health and education.
There would also be areas where the Assembly could legislate with the consent of the Secretary of State.
It would also spare Westminster a cull of its 40-strong group of Welsh MPs and the "turmoil" currently being experienced by Scottish MPs whose numbers are being slashed from 72 to 59.
Mr Hain said, "My bottom line for any change is I am not willing to countenance anything that alters the number of MPs. It has to remain at 40 and I am not touching with a barge pole the Scottish nightmare of reductions in numbers of MPs."