Two Bank of England officials today unexpectedly voted to lower interest rates due to signs of a deeper economic slowdown.
Others said they would consider a cut if global and Brexit headwinds did not lift.
The Bank of England said its nine-member Monetary Policy Committee voted 7-2 to keep its bank rate at 0.75%, in contrast to forecasts in a Reuters poll for a unanimous decision.
Sterling sank to a two-week low against the U.S. dollar on the news.
So far the Bank of England has resisted following the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in cutting its main interest rate in response to Brexit challenges and a global slowdown caused by the US-China trade war.
Michael Saunders and Jonathan Haskel became the first to vote for lower interest rates since the Bank of England last cut rates in August 2016 following Britain's referendum decision to leave the European Union.
Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank, said he was not surprised at the dovish shift in the Bank of England's tone but said he did not expect the majority of the MPC to back a rate cut soon.
"I think it makes sense to keep their power dry until we see where we are, if and when Brexit decision actually takes place, because if it goes wrong, the Bank is going to need all the ammunition it can get," he said.
More than three years on, Britain's path for leaving the EU remains far from certain.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called an early election for December 12 in a bid to get a large enough parliamentary majority to pass Brexit legislation before a new deadline of January 31.
Saunders and Haskel said their change in stance was driven by reduced job vacancies that suggested the labour market was turning, and downside risks from the world economy and Brexit.
For the others, Britain's economy had not performed much differently than they had expected three months ago but they showed a new openness to cutting rates if things soured.
"If global growth failed to stabilise or if Brexit uncertainties remained entrenched, monetary policy might need to reinforce the expected recovery in UK GDP growth and inflation," they said in a summary of their policy discussion.
They also softened long-standing language on the medium-term need for limited and gradual interest rate increases - saying they "might" rather than "would" be necessary if global growth improved and Brexit uncertainty lifted.
The Bank of England as a whole painted a darker picture for Britain's economy over the next three years, predicting it will grow 1% less over the period than it had forecast in August.
About three quarters of this was due to a weaker global economy and strengthening in sterling since the risk of a no-deal Brexit had diminished, but part of it reflected domestic policy including Johnson's Brexit deal.