THE wife of a Durham academic jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates on a spying allegation said she has won assurances that the Government is “now standing up for one of its citizens” after meeting Jeremy Hunt.

Daniela Tejada condemned the Foreign Office over the handling of the case of 31-year-old PhD student Matthew Hedges, ahead of her meeting with the Foreign Secretary on Thursday.

Mr Hunt had threatened the UAE with “serious diplomatic consequences” if Mr Hedges, who is studying at Durham University, is not freed, saying he has seen “absolutely no evidence” to support the charge.

Ms Tejada was critical of ministers, accusing them of putting relations with the Gulf state before her husband’s freedom.

But on Thursday afternoon she left the Foreign Office seeming more confident the Government was working in their favour.

She said: “I really appreciate the Foreign Secretary taking the time to meet me at this crucial point in Matt’s life.

“He has assured me that he and his team are doing everything in their power to get Matt free and return him home to me.

“This is not a fight I can win alone and I thank the Foreign Office and the British public for now standing up for one of their citizens.”

Mr Hunt is understood to have exchanged “very frank” words with the UAE ambassador in London during a meeting earlier in the day.

Ms Tejada, having landed back at Heathrow Airport in the morning, said the UK had “failed” to take a firm stance from the start.

Mr Hedges, a Middle Eastern studies specialist, was arrested at Dubai Airport on May 5.

A family representative said he had since been held in solitary confinement for more than five-and-a- half months, during which his “mental and physical health seriously deteriorated”.

Ms Tejeda, who was at the Abu Dhabi court when Mr Hedges was sentenced during a five-minute hearing on Wednesday, believes the UK should stop at nothing to free the “innocent” Briton, who was jailed after the UAE presented “completely fabricated” evidence.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she was “deeply disappointed and concerned”.

Mr Hunt said the UK “will do everything we can to get him home” over the charges he has seen “absolutely no evidence for”.

He said: “The UAE is supposed to be a friend and ally of Britain’s. We’ve given them repeated assurances about Matthew.

“If we can’t resolve this there are going to be serious diplomatic consequences, because this is totally unacceptable.”