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Peers long have opposed any changes, and a new attempt to force through reforms will require lengthy — and rancorous — debates in Parliament.

Grass-roots members of Mr. Cameron’s Conservative Party warn that a focus on political reform sends out the wrong message in a time of austerity. They say the leader should focus instead on efforts to create new jobs.

Email snooping

Contentious plans to allow spy agencies to snoop on email traffic, Web browsing and social media sites won’t be given the go-ahead just yet.

After an outcry from civil liberties campaigners, the plans to allow new snooping on communications data have been published only in draft form.

That means there will be new debate about the balance between personal freedoms and the needs of law enforcement authorities, who insist they require wider powers as terrorists use increasingly sophisticated methods to communicate.

Mr. Cameron says the plan would plug “significant gaps in our defenses.” Human rights groups say it would create unnecessary intrusion.

A separate planned bill would introduce secret court hearings to protect intelligence shared by the United States and other allies and other sensitive national security material.

Other proposals will see TV cameras allowed into some British courts for the first time, while Britain also plans a new FBI-style crime-fighting agency.

Bring out the bling

Bucking the gloomy tone of the government’s agenda, the queen showcased Britain’s love of elaborate pageantry as she arrived from Buckingham Palace for a ceremony featuring sparkling jewels and gleaming horse-drawn carriages.

After she donned the Imperial State Crown, studded with almost 3,000 diamonds, the queen delivered her speech from a gilded throne in the House of Lords, packed with peers wearing traditional red robes lined with gold and ermine.

The crown arrived in its own carriage, ferried to Westminster with other priceless symbols of the monarchy — the Cap of Maintenance and the Sword of State.