David Blanchflower, the new American member of the Bank of England's interest-setting committee was alone this month in opposing the decision to raise the interest rate by a quarter-point to 4.75 per cent.
A specialist in labour economics, attending his first meeting, Mr Blanchflower highlighted rising unemployment and subdued wage pressure as pointing to more slack in the economy.
"Although finely balanced, the risk of greater slack in the labour market was sufficient to offset such inflationary pressures observed elsewhere," official minutes recorded yesterday, summarising his argument.
The other six members - two new recruits are due in September and October - were unconvinced. They were unanimous interest rates needed to rise to bring inflation back to Chancellor Gordon Brown's two per cent target.
"The question was whether an immediate increase was justified or whether there was a case for delay," yesterday's minutes noted.
They concluded it would take time for the outlook to become clearer and it was possible to take steam out of the economy without holding back demand.
But if quickening inflation led to a sense the Bank was losing its grip on prices, it would be more difficult to get back to two per cent.
The minutes summarised the majority view: "One factor was inflation was likely to be rising just before the majority of next year's pay settlements.
"An early increase in rates would reduce the risk a sharper rise would be needed. Although most commentators were not expecting an increase, such an increase would not be hard to explain."
There would be time to reverse any increase if need be once the medium-term trends in the growth of demand and inflation became clearer.
Publication of the minutes coincided with numbers showing manufacturing wages and City bonuses pushed average earnings 4.3 per cent ahead year on year over the three months to June.