A French-Canadian university student known for his extreme right-wing opinions was arrested on suspicion of killing six people and wounding
eight others in a shooting during evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre. The acting US attorney general, Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, was promptly fired by Trump when she questioned the legality of his immigration ban and ordered lawyers in the justice department not to enforce his executive order. The White House accused Yates of 'betraying' the department. In the House of Commons, Denis Skinner described the new president as a fascist. The foreign secretary – 'Boris' to the headline writers in the right-wing press – objected to comparisons with Nazi Germany and said that Trump’s bark was worse than his bite. Johnson was forced to make a second, not wholly convincing, statement about the rights of British citizens of dual nationality after the American embassy had repudiated his earlier statement that they would be exempted from the ban.
A million and a half people signed a petition opposing Trump’s state visit and many thousands took part in demonstrations in cities across the UK. Among the many senior politicians who spoke out against the visit, Ruth Davidson said it 'could not possibly occur in the best traditions of the enterprise while a cruel and divisive policy, which discriminates against citizens of the host nation, is in place', while Jeremy Corbyn said a state visit should not have been offered in the first place. The former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, Lord Ricketts, wrote in a letter to the Times that the offer had been premature and would put the Queen in a difficult position. Theresa May, whose repeated refusal last Saturday to condemn the immigration ban has raised serious questions about her political judgement, confirmed that the visit would go ahead and that she was 'very happy' about it.
The self-obsessed BBC placed the departure of the actor who plays Dr Who fifth in the pecking order of the most important news in the world this morning. Scotland’s Brexit minister, Michael Russell, during an interview on the BBC’s Today programme, was unaccountably not asked about reports that the SNP was thinking of abandoning its policy of full membership of the EU as its preferred option for an independent Scotland. After a meeting of the joint ministerial committee in Cardiff, Nicola Sturgeon, in another of her daily threats of a second independence referendum, said that 'time was running out' to reach an agreement on a UK-wide approach to the Brexit negotiations. Prestwick Airport, which is bankrolled by the Scottish government, made a loss of £9.2 million last year, after a loss of £8.9 million the previous year.
Scientists claimed to have discovered the 'exquisitely well preserved' traces of a 540 million-year-old creature which might have been the earliest known ancestor of the human race – although, unlike its unsatisfactory successors, it appears to have consumed food and excreted from the same orifice. The newspapers got quite excited about a moderately cold night in Braemar, and the Daily Express predicted that an Arctic freeze was on the way.