Bank of England policymaker David Miles said in an interview released on Tuesday that he would not be surprised if data due on Wednesday showed Britain was in recession.
Miles's comments echo those from other members of the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee, who said in minutes last week that Britain could suffer a further two quarters of contraction after the economy shrank 0.3 percent at the end of 2011.
It wouldn't be a great surprise if the GDP number was a small negative number, Miles told Bloomberg.
Economists polled by Reuters forecast that data from the Office of National Statistics to be released at 0830 GMT on Wednesday will show growth of 0.1 percent for the first quarter of 2012. But a significant minority predict contraction due to recent weak construction data.
However Miles - who was the only MPC member to support further quantitative easing this month - said he believed the underlying strength of the economy was greater than that shown by official data.
It's perfectly possible to think that the underlying growth position of the economy is stronger than the headline GDP numbers. In fact I think that's probably true, he said.
Nonetheless, growth was still well below the economy's long-term trend rate, creating spare capacity that could ultimately push inflation below its 2 percent target, and vindicating further quantitative easing, Miles said.
It seems pretty likely that right now, growth in the economy is pretty weak, probably marginally positive, but pretty weak, he added.
It's because of that combination of spare capacity and inflation ultimately moving back to target - and probably, I think, falling beneath it - that making monetary policy a bit more expansionary for me seemed the right strategy.
The BoE surprised analysts last week when its minutes showed that long-running QE advocate Adam Posen no longer supported a modest increase in QE to 350 billion pounds from 325 billion pounds. The overall tone of the minutes caused markets to rule out further QE in May, when the 50 billion pounds of gilt purchases which the MPC ordered in February will be complete.
(Reporting by David Milliken, additional reporting by Olesya Dmitracova and Michelle Martin; editing by Ron Askew)