The House of Lords has been the subject of much media attention over the past few days. You may think the reason for this is obvious. It isn’t. One peer engages in private conduct that attracts public opprobrium. As I have pointed out elsewhere, there is no reason to link private behaviour with institutional reform. It did not happen with MP and minister Antony Lambton, who in 1973 engaged in behaviour pretty similar to that alleged in respect of Lord Sewel, nor with the more recent Brooks Newmark revelations. In each case, the individual decided to leave Parliament, but in only one did the media and others seek to link private behaviour with calls for changes to the institution. Not only is there not a link, it is potentially dangerous to draw one. As far as I am aware, no one in the media has been alert to the implications. It raises important questions as to the accountability of institutions for the personal conduct of those who form the institution. There is a case for reform of the Lords – some has already been achieved and other reforms are being pursued – but that is separate from the conduct of members in a private capacity. Demands for press reform do not derive from the conduct of journalists in a private capacity, but from their actions on behalf of their employers. The somewhat unthinking pack mentality of the media has precluded any reflection on the implications of assuming a link between private behaviour and the work of an institution. Sober reflection is needed in order to unhinge it.