The head of a government-commissioned inquiry into allegations that British public institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse in the 1980s resigned on Monday, less than a week after being appointed.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government had launched the investigation in haste after a flurry of accusations that the political establishment had systematically covered up child abuse by a number of well-known politicians.

But the appointment of 80-year-old retired judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss proved contentious.