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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will watch the results of local elections here May 5 to help her decide when to call the next general election - in June or October this year (or even perhaps in the spring of next year).

As she waits, she stays on the attack against the British peace movement led by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and its general secretary, Bruce Kent, who is a Roman Catholic priest.

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''We are the real peace movement,'' Mrs. Thatcher insists, saying that NATO nuclear weapons have kept the peace since World War II.

On the eve of new demonstrations, Mr. Kent is under fire from some members of his own church. They say a priest should not be head of an openly and increasingly political movement now campaigning against Conservative candidates.

Basil Cardinal Hume has revealed some reservations about his role. In reply, Mr. Kent accuses Conservatives of a ''smear campaign.'' The clash gets more headlines here these days than the nuclear issue itself.

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