IAIN Duncan Smith moved to crush the plots against him last night after delighting his party conference in Blackpool with a fighting speech for survival.

The Tory leader rallied the party faithful with bitter attacks on his internal critics, Tony Blair, Charles Kennedy, asylum seekers and Europe. He won 19 standing ovations and eight- and-a-half minutes of cheering at the end.

Attempting to shrug off his reputation as a poor speaker, he said: ''And to the prime minister I say this. The quiet man is here to stay and he's turning up the volume.''

Mr Duncan Smith's supporters believe the plot to unseat him has petered out but they are taking no chances. After the speech, it was revealed that John Maples, a former shadow health secretary, was being hauled before the chief whip after being named as the organiser of an attempted coup against his leader.

A senior Conservative party source said he would be called in for a ''career development interview'' next week.

The threat to Mr Duncan Smith has dominated the conference, overshadowing key policy launches. In his speech,

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Mr Duncan Smith made an appeal to the constituency associations, which the leadership hopes will put ''the fear of God into potential rebel MPs'' by threatening them with deselection.

''To those who doubt and those who deliberate, I say this. Don't work for Tony Blair. Get on board or get out of the way. For we have work to do.''

In personal attacks, Mr Duncan Smith savaged the reputations of both Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy.

The Tory leader also highlighted the death of Dr David Kelly, denouncing the prime minister as a ''liar''. Condemning how the government scientist was used ''as a pawn'', he described his death as the ''prime minister's blackest act''.

Rebel Tory MPs will carefully study today's headlines, the Sunday newspapers and the opinion polls before deciding whether they should mount a leadership challenge.

Following the speech, Lord Strathclyde, leader of the Lords, and Tim Yeo, a member of the shadow cabinet tipped as a possible leader, admitted Mr Duncan Smith's future would be decided at Westminster whatever the reaction in the hall.

Asked if the leader had done enough to squash a leadership challenge, Mr Yeo said: ''I think so. I think the atmosphere at Westminster is likely to be a little less feverish.''

However, David Maclean, the Tory chief whip, increased the tension yesterday by letting it be known he had summoned the would-be rebels to see him next week.

Mr Maclean said: ''This nonsense has to end once and for all. I'll ask them if they want to work with Iain and the other ministers or if they want to work in industry. If they're not willing to work with us, they can ship out.''