Queen Elizabeth II addresses the annual state opening of parliament, in a ceremony laden with pomp, and unveils the British government's reform agenda ahead of a vote on EU membership. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: Queen Elizabeth unveiled plans by British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday to overhaul prisons and help the poor under a social reform agenda he hopes to press after a referendum on European Union membership. In a ceremony laden with pomp and pageantry in the upper house of parliament, the queen announced plans for more than 20 new laws, ranging from tackling extremism to making it easier for people to adopt children who are wards of the state. Much of what was announced was already known, and some members of Cameron's divided Conservative Party said measures had been watered down because of the June 23 vote. The government also appeared to put off at least one measure demanded by those pressing to leave the European Union - a Sovereignty Bill which some Conservative lawmakers want in order to assert the sovereignty of parliament over EU laws. The yearly Queen's Speech is a major fixture in Britain's political life when governments can unveil up to about 30 new laws and try to woo voters with eye-catching measures. But this year, the ceremony, when the queen addressed an audience made up of politicians clad in crimson robes trimmed with white ermine, has been overshadowed by an increasingly bitter battle over Britain's EU membership.