British Home Secretary David Blunkett has resigned amid allegations that he abused his position to steer perks to an ex-lover and after criticizing his cabinet colleagues in a biography.

The Home Office confirmed the resignation on Wednesday. Blunkett, the country's only blind legislator and a key ally of Prime Minister Tony Blair, faces two separate inquiries into the allegations.

He's accused of using his influence to fast-track a visa for the nanny of a former lover, a charge he denies.

Blunkett admitted to giving first-class rail tickets intended for MPs' spouses to his former lover, the married American publisher Kimberly Quinn.

A paternity suit he filed, which claims he fathered Quinn's son and her unborn child, further fuelled the controversy.

Quinn and Blunkett, a divorced 57-year-old with three adult sons, ended their three-year secret affair months ago.

Biography provoked open retaliation

Blunkett has also drawn the ire of government ministers for disparaging them in his memoir.

He wrote that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw left the Home Office in a "giant mess" and that the education secretary had "soft" standards.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who Blunkett nicknamed "Two Jags" in the book, blamed the Home Secretary's problems on "personal arrogance" on Tuesday.

Blunkett called his Cabinet colleagues to apologize for his comments in the biography.