The union Unison has elected a lesbian as vice-president.

Maureen Le Marinel, the branch secretary for UNISON’s Lancashire Police branch, is the first lesbian to hold the position.

She replaces Eleanor Smith, who has become president, and will join the other vice-president, Chris Lansley.

Ms Le Marinel first became involved with unions in 1984 after suffering homophobic bullying and dismissal at work.

she was an assistant branch secretary for ten years before becoming secretary of Lancashire Police’s branch. She has also been sitting on regional committees since the early 90s and joined the NEC, the union’s highest lay body, in 2003.

She said: “Throughout my life, fairness has always been key. Unison is not a banging on the table type of union – we want to find a fair and reasonable solution that is best for everyone.

“This is a guiding principle that will take me through my presidential term, as I help the union, and public services, face head on some of the biggest challenges that we have faced in my lifetime.”