Rachel Riley says she shares MBE with those fighting against anti-Jewish racism

The presenter was a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn during his time as Labour leader.

Ellie Iorizzo
Friday 30 December 2022 22:58 GMT
TV presenter Rachel Riley has been made an MBE (Nick Potts/PA)
TV presenter Rachel Riley has been made an MBE (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)

Countdown star Rachel Riley said she shares her MBE with those “fighting anti-Jewish racism” as she is honoured for her efforts to raise awareness of the Holocaust and combat antisemitism.

The TV presenter and mathematician, whose mother is Jewish, has been honoured for her services to Holocaust education as an avid campaigner in the New Year Honours list.

She wrote on Twitter on Friday: “Incredibly proud to have just been awarded an MBE for services to Holocaust education.

“Grateful to everyone who has sent well wishes and support over the years.

“This is very much shared with so many people who also dedicate their time and energy to fighting anti-Jewish racism.”

The 36-year-old Oxford University graduate was a vocal critic of Labour’s handling of alleged antisemitism within the party and Jeremy Corbyn’s conduct while leader.

She took over from Carol Vorderman as co-host of Channel 4’s Countdown in 2009 at the age of 22, after Vorderman stepped down from the role she had held since the show began in 1982.

Her tenure as the resident number cruncher has seen her work alongside presenters Jeff Stelling, Nick Hewer, Anne Robinson and Colin Murray.

In January 2019, she made a speech at a Westminster reception for the Holocaust Educational Trust addressing the abuse she received on social media as a public figure.

She has also worked with the Centre for Countering Digital Hate to combat online abuse.

In August, Mr Corbyn’s former aide, Laura Murray, lost an appeal against a High Court libel ruling which ordered her to pay £10,000 damages to Riley after a Twitter row.

In November, Riley was awarded £50,000 in damages by a High Court judge after suing political blogger Mike Sivier for libel over an article alleging she was a “serial abuser” and had bullied a teenager.

And in 2019, she was embroiled in an online row after editing a photo of Mr Corbyn at an anti-apartheid protest as she accused him of racism.

In November 2021, she welcomed her second daughter Noa with professional dancer husband, Pasha Kovalev, following the birth of Maven in 2019.

Riley started dating Kovalev after splitting from her husband, fellow Oxford University student Jamie Gilbert, in 2013.

The couple met when they were paired up together on the 11th series of Strictly Come Dancing and married in Las Vegas in 2019.

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