THE father of Britain's youngest councillor has spoken of the family's shock after she was found dead at the age of 21.

Clarissa Slade, who was just 18 when she was elected as a Conservative councillor for Mid Devon District Council in 2015, was reportedly found by her housemate in Winchester on Monday.

Her father Colin Slade, who is also a Conservative councillor in the area, said the family were "still pretty much in the dark" as to the circumstances of the Winchester University student's death.

He told a national newspaper: "It is such a shock. She was due to come back to visit and the first thing we knew was when she was not on the train."

Ms Slade was a student at Winchester University, having been offered a place to read Classical Studies in 2015.

She told the council at the time that she had "no intention" of resigning and that she "remained committed" to serving the people of her ward.

Mr Slade told the paper: "She had a bright future ahead, she was very keen on politics and she was a very bright young councillor, the youngest in the country when she was elected.

"She was looking to possibly pursue a career in politics."

He added that they were waiting for information from the coroner regarding the cause of her death. Police are currently said to be treating it as unexplained.

Kevin Foster, Conservative MP for Torbay, paid tribute to Ms Slade in a post on Twitter.

He said: "Shocked and deeply saddened to read of Clarissa's death at only 21. My thoughts and prayers are with her family."

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones tweeted: "My sincere condolences to Colin & Elizabeth.

"Colin was my agent & campaign manager in #NDevon prior to the 2015 election. I knew Clarissa well. She was hardworking and always so upbeat, and had a bright future. Such a sad day."

Clive Eginton, leader of Mid Devon District Council told a national newspaper: "The devastating news regarding the sudden passing of Cllr Clarissa Slade has been deeply felt by myself, fellow councillors and officers across Mid Devon District Council.

"Clarissa had an endearing personality to all those who knew her well, and we will miss her enormously."