Brown's brief agenda stokes 2009 election talk

Britain's government laid out a populist - but brief - new legislative agenda on Wednesday, stoking rumors that Prime Minister Gordon Brown will call a national election in the coming year. Wearing an imperial state crown decorated with more than 2,000 diamonds, Queen Elizabeth II read aloud Brown's legislative agenda in a colorful ceremony at the House of Lords, symbolically beginning a parliamentary year. Brown is staking his political future on attempts to shield low-income families from the economic slowdown, crack down on minor crime and restrict illegal immigration. Proposed new laws include creating state-backed savings accounts, giving bank depositors more protection and tightening regulation of the Britain's financial sector. "My government's overriding priority is to ensure the stability of the British economy during the global economic downturn," the Queen said, speaking from a gilded throne following an opulent procession from her Buckingham Palace home.