AS you read this, it’s officially the morning after the night before.

I’m not sure yet who has the sorest head, the reddest face or the biggest regrets, given I’ve written this column just hours before our MPs made their feelings known on Brexit through the meaningful vote.

But in this most momentous of weeks which will determine our fate as a United Kingdom in more ways than one, two people, in particular, deserve an honourable mention for their steadfast and resolute commitment to the rights of parliament.

These two larger-than-life characters, with screeds of parliamentary experience between them and plenty of hair-raising moments in their respective careers, have stuck their necks out and spoken up on misinformation and intimidation within the hallowed halls of Westminster. They have gone against immense pressure from their own political background, of which they had been previously proud and long adherents, to do what they know is right by democracy and the people of these islands. They both show the benefits from having held a high office which demands independence of thought and deed.

The first is John Bercow. The Speaker said it loud and proud to parliament last Monday that, “as guardian of the rights of this House”, he wouldn’t be pushed around by “agents of the executive branch”. In response to a rather sarcastic question from Tory MP Matt Warham, on constituents questioning Bercow’s commitment to parliamentary procedure, the Speaker of the House announced that he had “no intention of taking lectures in doing right by parliament from people who have been conspicuous in denial of and, sometimes, contempt for it”.

As we say in Scotland – “telt!”

Bercow was of course referring to criticisms by the Brexit zealots in his party who have been up in arms over the Speaker’s decision to let MPs have their say on the vote and ensure that Theresa May must act quickly with a plan B if her deal is rejected. Bercow has stopped them from getting their way by safeguarding democracy to allow all MPs a voice, not just the party in power, or the Brexiteers for that matter. And it says little for the memories of these Brexit adherents how quickly they have forgotten that this same Speaker has always guaranteed their right to be heard in parliament.

Apparently, the PM is fuming over what she regards as his insolence. It’s rather ironic that Theresa May has accused him of “tearing up the rule book” when she herself has played hard and fast with constitutional protocol – remember that the only reason the meaningful vote has taken pace at all is because Gina Miller took the government to court to stop the PM from forcing her plan through without parliamentary approval. As far as respecting democracy goes, this PM has previous. It is the Prime Minister and her government who recently were found to be in contempt of parliament, not Mr Speaker Bercow.

Bercow also went on to complain about MPs in his own party spreading “fake news” about his supposed lack of impartiality and accusations of his siding with the Remainers in the House. Their outrage is more about his refusal to toe the party line and his respect for democracy – Bercow may be geeky about the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure, but he is no dinosaur. He is a reformer and a modernist who has never been afraid to make waves, and fair play to him for calling out these charlatans with such eloquence this past week.

From outside the corridors of power, it feels good to watch someone stand up and confront the pedlars of misinformation and the playground bullies. If the Brexiteers had their way, we’d all be hurtling towards a no-deal Brexit and dusting off our 30 Ways With Spam cookbooks while we turn our back gardens into veggie allotments. There’s a vast proportion of the British electorate that feel Bercow’s pain – we’ve had just about enough of being pushed around by faceless figures pulling the strings from the shadows, telling us that they know best, that it will all work out, while they appoint a minister for food shortages.

Over in the red corner, a former Speaker of the House was “gieing it laldy” in a similar vein in an address to the House of Lords that surely must have woken up the sleepiest of members post lunch. She is our second parliamentary star of the week.

In a cracking speech in terms of wit and directness, Betty Boothroyd, the first and, so far, only female Speaker of the House of Commons and now a Member of the House of Lords, declared her support for a People’s Vote and reminded her colleagues that when a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy. She went on to quote Harold Wilson, saying “anyone who claimed membership of the EU was a black-and-white issue was either a charlatan or a simpleton … which brings me to Mr Boris Johnson.”

After chuckles of appreciation to her joke, she then picked apart Johnson’s ridiculous Brexit campaign which plucked promises out of thin air, leaving us with a referendum “dominated by falsehoods”. She championed the voice of young people, and the importance of protecting their futures, questioning why this government was so afraid of a People’s Vote? She asked how they could explain to these young people why their concerns need not be heard on an issue that the older generation has “manifestly botched”.

Well said, Betty. A lifelong member of the Labour Party but, as tradition dictates, a cross-bencher in the House of Lords, she refuses to sit on the fence but advocates a second referendum to protect democracy from the chaos and sham of Brexit. Sometime Speaker, forever formidable.

The House of Lords went on to categorically reject Theresa May’s hapless deal by 321 votes to 152 in a ballot on Monday night. By now, we’ll know how the vote panned out in the House of Commons. Whatever the result, Bercow, Boothroyd and those who have had the strength to stand up to these powerful forces have earned their place in our history books. Sometimes all it takes to be a hero is to say what’s right and true. As the Baroness put it herself: “My message is: Backbenchers arise and forget your party allegiance. The national interest demands it.”