FORMER Minister Don Touhig has rekindled tensions between Westminster and Cardiff Bay by attacking Education Minister Jane Davidson for failing to hold a meeting with him.
Mr Touhig, a former Defence and Wales Office Minister who is MP for Islwyn, also said MPs should have the right to debate how much money goes to Cardiff Bay each year. He said MPs should be able to scrutinise the "generous" cash award the Treasury makes each year to the Assembly Government.
His criticisms have echoes of the infamous 2004 row when Pontypridd MP Kim Howells attacked Health Minister Jane Hutt for failing to reply to a letter.
Relations between AMs and MPs hit an all-time low soon afterwards when 19 MPs signed a letter to Welsh Secretary Peter Hain saying there should be a referendum before the Assembly was given more powers.
A six-strong "contact group" has since been set up in a bid to bridge the gap. The Government of Wales Bill, set up to increase the Assembly's powers but with a Westminster rubber stamp, is widely seen as a compromise with sceptical MPs.
Many backed devolution in principle but have been unhappy at their Labour colleagues' record on public service reform.
Mr Touhig said he was unhappy over funding for schools in his constituency - a devolved issue - and wanted to meet Ms Davidson. He told fellow MPs they should debate the annual Welsh block grant to the Assembly, "the billions of pounds that the House [of Commons] provides for public services in Wales".
He added, "Secondary school heads in my constituency tell me that there is a growing disparity between what they receive and what schools in others parts of the United Kingdom receive.
"Given that the Assembly Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills refused to meet them, refuses to meet me and even refuses to meet the Assembly Member for Islwyn, Irene James, an annual debate will mean that those of us in the UK Parliament can scrutinise what is being done with the generous settlement that we provide."
The idea was shot down by Assembly Environment Minister Carwyn Jones, who said it was "not sensible". He told BBC Wales' Dau o'r Bae programme, "It's important to realise, of course, that responsibility lies with the Assembly. It would not be a very sensible thing, in my opinion, for Westminster to start saying you have got to spend the money in this way and that way."
The Assembly Government said Mr Touhig was not being treated any differently from anyone else in his request to meet Ms Davidson.
A spokeswoman said schools' funding was allocated from Cardiff Bay to local councils as part of their annual settlement, and was not ring-fenced.
She said, "The Finance Minister has overall responsibility in terms of how the local government settlement money is allocated, it does not fall to the Education Minister's portfolio.
"The Assembly Government does not set the education budgets - that responsibility falls to the local authorities and therefore discussions about levels in individual authorities is a matter between schools and the LEA. That is why the Minister does not meet individual groups of head teachers and always asks AMs and MPs to make their representations direct to the local authority."
Mr Touhig's local authority, Caerphilly, had spent less than it was advised by the Assembly Government, she added.
Mr Touhig told the Western Mail, "I was surprised my request for a meeting was rejected. In my time as a Minister I never refused a meeting with an MP or an AM."
He said he thought relations between AMs and MPs were generally good, and was not telling the Assembly Government how to spend its money.
Leader of the Commons Jack Straw said, "We did not make a one-off decision to devolve power to the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament.
"Although we devolved power to them, we continue to exercise a great deal of control over what they can do through the block grant."