Furious Labour leaders have dismissed claims the party is considering a deal with Plaid Cymru after May's Assembly election as 'baseless media tittle-tattle'.
Labour leader and First Minister Rhodri Morgan hit out at a BBC Wales report quoting unnamed senior party sources over a possible link-up with the nationalists.
He said: 'This story is rubbish from start to finish. A formal complaint is being made to BBC Wales about their decision to run such a story at such a critical point in the election. We are certainly not going to be knocked off course by baseless media tittle-tattle.'
And Merthyr and Rhymney Labour AM Huw Lewis added: 'All AMs to a man and woman I have spoken to are furious at the suggestion of a deal.
'It shows contempt for the party members and contempt for the electorate if they think they can prejudge the outcome of an election. These unnamed and cowardly sources should be ashamed of themselves.
'We are in the business of trying to defeat Plaid Cymru in the ballot box not play mind games'
According to BBC Wales, Labour sources are annoyed with the Lib Dems, who have been tipped as the most likely to join a post-May coalition, accusing them of 'posturing and assuming they have an automatic right to be in government'. But Liberal Democrat campaign chairwoman Jenny Willott accused Labour of election spin.
She said: 'Spinning dodgy deals before the electorate have had their say is the refuge of desperate parties on the slide. It's the people of Wales who decide the outcome of this election.'
Despite the furore, the most likely option, in the event of no overall majority, still appears to be a Labour- Liberal Democrat coalition.
Plaid's leader Ieuan Wyn Jones insisted the party would talk to all other parties if none achieved an overall majority but would not support Labour on an informal basis, as predicted by the BBC source.
He added: 'Neither will we allow a Tory to become First Minister. We will only enter into a formal agreement. Such an agreement has to be based on our positive policy agenda. We will never sell Wales short, and if any agreement is to be made after the election, with any party, it will be on our terms.'