Corbyn vs Cameron
Jeremy Corbyn put in a strong performance at the final PMQs before Christmas Reuters

David Cameron went into the final prime minister's questions (PMQs) with some good news on his side after it was revealed that the UK's unemployment rate had fallen to 5.2% in the three months to July. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures gave the Conservative leader an opportunity to boast about his government's economic credentials.

But Jeremy Corbyn stole the show by pressing the PM on the NHS' "winter crisis". Cameron hit back and claimed the government had kept their promises on the health service by promising to give the NHS £19bn ($28bn) over the course of this parliament, which will end in 2020.

"If he's so passionate about the NHS, can he then explain why he's decided to cancel the publication of NHS performance data this winter," Corbyn replied.

"There was a time when the prime minister was all in favour of transparency. Is it because the number of people being kept waiting on trolleys in A&E has gone up more than four-fold that he doesn't want to publish these statistics?"

Cameron argued that his government was the first to publish such data and said the NHS had improved in a number of areas. "We have a bigger, better NHS," the prime minster claimed. But Corbyn kept at the Conservative leader and warned there were serious issues with social care for older people. "There's a problem of NHS funding – has he forgotten the simple maxim that prevention is simpler and cheaper than a cure," the Labour leader added.

Elsewhere, Cameron notably dodged a question from Ukip's sole MP and former Tory Douglas Carswell over the prime minister's renegotiation with the EU. The Clacton MP asked the prime minister if he was still hoping to gain an opt-out for Britain of the EU's social and employment law.

The query came as Cameron continues to struggle to find support amid EU leaders for his welfare proposals. His plan to block EU migrants in the UK from accessing benefits until they have been in the country for more than four years has proved to be particularly controversial on the continent.

But the prime minister decided to joke that Carswell was causing just as much "trouble" for Ukip leader Nigel Farage as he had done for himself. The quip did not go down well with Carswell, who in turn accused Westminster of lacking legitimacy.

Meanwhile, a reference to the forthcoming Star Wars film came up in debate. Tory Oliver Dowden, the MP for Hertsmere where Elstree Studios is based, mentioned The Force Awakens to celebrate the British film industry.

Cameron cringingly quipped that he knew Dowden would "never turn to the dark side". The joke prompted Labour MP Chris Bryant to call out for Cameron's resignation after the exchange.