Stephen Nickell, known to be one of the leading "doves" on the Bank of England's interest setting monetary policy committee, voted for a quarter- point cut in Bank's official repo rate at the committee's meeting on December 7 and 8.
Official minutes of the meeting published yesterday show the other eight committee members ranged solidly against him to vote for no change - although they had seen an advance copy of the official numbers showing that inflation fell unexpectedly sharply in November to 2.1 per cent from 2.3 per cent in October.
The City had taken it for granted that the vote was unanimous. News of the split vote was seen yesterday as increasing the likelihood of a cut in the cost of borrowing early next year if other committee members follow Mr Nickell's lead.
Charles Bean, the Bank's chief economist, who voted for the quarter-point cut in August - which was opposed by the Bank's governor Mervyn King - said recently that the November figures removed some of the uncertainty about inflation.
At the committee meeting, though, the minutes show he sided with the majority view that it was important to see whether the large number of pay deals in January reflect the impact of this year's jump in the price of oil on the cost of living.
So far, though, they accepted, in the words of the minutes, that "it was encouraging that there had been little evidence that wage growth had risen in response to higher energy prices".
Mr Nickell saw no sign at all that the rapid rise in both oil prices and tax rates since early 2004 had fed through into wages.
The majority view was that it was too soon to be confident that the oil price has peaked and "unclear how the gas price will evolve in the coming months".
There were also uncertainties about the trend in import prices and the value of the pound, both important influences on the outlook for British inflation.
Some unnamed committee members suggested that the present rate of 4.5 per cent is "mildly accommodative" - helping the economy to expand a little faster than it would otherwise. This was appropriate as it appears to be operating a little below capacity and expectations for inflation seem to be well anchored to the Bank's two per cent target.
The recent weakness in manufacturing was also seen as a short-term threat to the projection for economic growth over the next two years in the Bank's November "Inflation Report".
Mr Nickell prefaced objections with a suggestion that this report was too optimistic in its projection for investment and the impact of trade.
Mr Nickell also challenged an assumption in the November report that net trade would made a bigger contribution to Britain's growth in the future than it had done in the past.
Inflationary pressures in the pipeline were also easing - so without an immediate interest rate cut, inflation was likely to under-shoot the two per cent target.
After reading yesterday's minuted Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec commented "The break in the MPC's unanimity is quite surprising given the host of comments suggesting that most members were happy with rates at 4.5 per cent."
The housing market and the global economy were a little stronger than at the time of the November Report, according to officials. Against that, weakness in manufacturing had increased the near-term downside risks to growth. ..SUPL: